Riverside Prep Sets Record for GA Mountain Food Bank

Katie L. Martin
Georgia Mountain Food Bank (GMFB), which serves five counties including Hall, estimates that one in eight people in Georgia suffers from hunger and malnutrition. To fight this alarming statistic, GMFB invited Riverside and other schools in the area to participate in their annual school food drive. “One of the things we try to stress to volunteers, schools in particular, is how important it is to start getting future generations involved right now,” said Denise Bernardi, Volunteer Coordinator at GMFB.
During Riverside’s Summer Leadership Academy, cadets participated in the Empty Bowl Luncheon by hand painting bowls for GMFB. Phrases such as “You are not alone” adorned the bowls, bringing tears to the eyes of the recipients of the bowls. GFMB reported that Riverside donated the most bowls to their organization during this initiative.
When the fall food drive was announced, cadets and their parents immediately took up the initiative and began collecting donations. Through the generosity of our cadets and their parents, Riverside collected more than 10,000 cans of food in less than two weeks. Each cadet company at Riverside competed in collecting canned goods, and Headquarters Company took first place, collecting more than 6,000 cans. Riverside not only donated the most cans in the county but also broke the record for most donations from a school. 
Denise Bernardi and the staff at GMFB were astounded by Riverside’s participation this year. “This was my first year working with Riverside. Everyone here told me to ‘get ready’ for the level of support Riverside brings. They weren’t wrong. I wasn’t ready, and I’m in awe…the Georgia Mountain Food Bank are so proud to call Riverside members of our community support.”
Riverside believes in training up young men to serve their communities, and it is evident in the culture of generosity exhibited by the cadets through the food drive. Jamie Burkley, Director of Student Affairs, said, “We look forward to this event each year, and I know the Riverside family will continue exceeding all expectations by helping others in our community.”