Twin fifth-graders’ cereal drive for families in need sat in huge containers on the tarmac. But little did they know 2,700 boxes from a cereal giant were hidden behind a truck outside Boca Helping Hands.
“We get thousands of requests, but it’s what they wrote,” said General Mills’ Mike Siemienas, who came in from Minneapolis. At first, the company just sent T-shirts but decided to do more. “People just do this once,” he said about the three-year drive in six other schools. “Our mission is to be a force for good. We wanted to support them.”
At 11, Luke and Jett Justin took the big reveal in stride. “I was just as surprised,” said Helping Hands’ exec Greg Hazle, standing by. “We’ve never had a major manufacturer deliver something this size,” added board president Gary Peters.
The food bank doesn’t get a lot of cereal donated, Peters said. That meant the need was there. So the kids built a web site, called Cereal 4 all and called their effort the Boca Raton Cereal Drive Alliance.
The winning class at each participating school gets a cereal party. Most had students attend Tuesday’s surprise. And Calusa principal Dianne Rivelli-Schreiber took the mic to thank all the teachers and principals for their support.
What’s next for the cereal drive? Spreading the word in middle schools when they get into sixth grade, they said afterward. “I want it to go national,” Jett added.
Parents Eric and Lukana Justin couldn’t be prouder of their sons. But they don’t take credit for their generosity. “I just drive them to Boca Helping Hands,” Eric said.
“They’re a really good team,” their mom added.
By Marci Shatzman