When one local family lost their son far too early, they chose to keep his spirit alive by continuing his passion of helping students perform the best they can.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to excel when you haven’t had a good breakfast. For one local teacher’s college student, seeing the importance of a breakfast for students in area schools was just the beginning of the work he would do to ensure students weren’t starting the school day hungry.
After taking behaviour psychology at St. Lawrence College, Brady Faroldi began teacher’s college at Queen’s University, getting him one step closer to his dream of being a teacher and making a difference in the lives of area children. During his first placement in May of 2016, Brady noticed kids coming into school, dropping their stuff off at their desks, and leaving the classroom. According to his mother, Roberta, Brady asked one student where she was going, and she told him, “to have breakfast.” Wanting to know more, Brady followed the student and, when she was finished eating, he asked her why she hadn’t eaten before coming to school. After looking at him funny, the girl told Brady, “because there was nothing to eat at home.”
“That was all he needed to hear. From that day on he was involved with the Food Sharing Project. Each morning, Brady would get up early and go to his placement in time to help prepare and serve the children breakfast,” Roberta recalled.
The Food Sharing Project is a local charity that provides healthy food to students in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington school nutrition programs. Each week of the school year, 88 schools from four school boards order six tons of food that is purchased, sorted by volunteers, and delivered to schools, providing nourishing snacks and meals for students, undoubtedly improving their readiness to learn. And when Brady found out about the program, he was all in.
“I remember him telling us all about the program the first night while we were having dinner. I have no doubt that this would have been a lifelong mission for him,” Roberta said.
Tragically, Brady passed away at the young age of 26 due to an unknown cardiac issue. But his passion for supporting the Food Sharing Project lives on, thanks to his mother, Roberta, sister, Brianna, stepfather, Brian Cassidy, and former girlfriend Danielle Plumpton, who all support what is now an annual cereal drive for the Food Sharing Project.
“We decided to take this on as our way of honouring him,” Roberta said, noting that the family held the first cereal drive in November 2016. “I’m not sure why we chose November, I think it just worked out that way.”
For those with the Food Sharing Project, the cereal drive is a welcome and moving way to see their school nutrition programs supported.
“We are privileged to benefit from the generosity of the Faroldi family,” said Andy Mills of the Food Sharing Project. “Their simple gesture helps raise awareness of our organization, our cause, and helps us financially by saving us funds that are used to purchase cereal.”
Mills noted that, due to the strict nutrition guidelines, only two types of cereal can be accepted.
“Only original Shreddies and original Cheerios – in yellow boxes – meet the nutritional criteria of having whole grains and limited sugar,” he said.
And with the help of friends, family, coworkers, and neighbours, the Faroldis have made a huge success from the simple act of kindness in honour of their son. The Faroldis place a large grey bin on their front step for the month of November to collect the cereal, which is delivered to the Food Sharing Project.
“We were overwhelmed the first year with the donations we received, and when they were delivered, we were told the Food Sharing Program would not have to buy anymore cereal for the whole school semester,” Roberta recalled. “That meant they could spend their money on other food items the kids needed and, to me, that was huge. We decided right then that this was something we were going to do every year.
To help the Faroldis honour Brady’s memory, and to help fill the bellies of hungry students throughout the region, the community is invited to drop off a box of cereal (or as many boxes of cereal as they would like) at 1212 Amanda Court in Kingston. Donors can also support the Food Sharing Project in Brady’s honour by making a donation at their location, 37 Rigney Street, Unit 4, as well as by mail or online.
“Brady saw the impact healthy food had on individual children, especially those who came from a life less privileged than his own. We honor his passion and legacy by continuing to feed hungry kids,” Roberta said.