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Collection drives conducted by Cereal4All, a nonprofit organization started by 14-year-old twin brothers Jett and Luke Justin from Boca Raton, have received the equivalent of nearly 100,000 bowls of cereal for Boca Helping Hands to distribute.
The Don Estridge High Tech Middle School students’ annual cereal donation drive launched March 7 in celebration of National Cereal Day.
Breakfast food is one of the least donated items to food banks across the country. Unfortunately, that means not all families have daily access to breakfast in their homes. Like most kids, Jett and Luke consider cereal to be one of their favorite foods.
“We want to live in a world where every kid and family has daily access to breakfast food in their home,” they said. “We want to be part of the fight against food insecurity.”
Having volunteered at Boca Helping Hands with their parents, Jett and Luke organized their first cereal drive in 2016 at Calusa Elementary School, when they were 8. The boys have since expanded the program, now called Cereal4All, to more schools in the area.
Participating schools for the 2022 cereal drive include Coral Sunset, J.C. Mitchell, Morikami Park and Whispering Pines elementary schools. Other elementary, middle schools and high schools, universities and businesses are invited to sign up to participate in the countywide collection drive through mid-April by registering at bocahelpinghands.org/FoodDrives.
“Cereal is about breakfast, but it’s also about happiness,” Jett said. “We couldn’t stop thinking about the families in our community who couldn’t fill their bowls, and we wanted to do something about it.”
In 2019, the twins received six additional pallets of cereal from General Mills after writing to the company for three years. General Mills still supports Cereal4All and has sent the boys T-shirts to give to students who donate cereal boxes.
In 2021, Cereal4All collected nearly 3,300 pounds of cereal during the annual cereal drive with the help of participating schools and organizations. Participants in last year’s collection include Kindness Matters 365, Verde Elementary School, Sunrise Park Elementary School, Grandview Preparatory School, Florida Atlantic University Community Service Club, Plastridge Insurance, St. Joan of Arc Catholic School and Del Prado Elementary School.
“Jett and Luke Justin are two of the most amazing students I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with in my 22 years in public education,” said Don Estridge High Tech Middle School Prinicpal Joshua Davidow. “I first was introduced to Jett and Luke a few years back while I was principal of the old Addison Mizner Elementary School.
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“Their idea of cereal for all really resonated within our community and we were proud to have been able to assist their charitable efforts. Flash forward to today and having the privilege to know Jett and Luke as their principal at Don Estridge High Tech Middle, I just cannot say enough positive things about them. They are currently taking the most rigorous level academic courses offered at our school and have earned nothing short of an A in each and every class. They are two outstanding young men destined for greatness.”
Cereal4All continues to grow because of partnerships with schools and organizations like Kindness Matters 365, an after-school club focused on interactive opportunities for community service and skill-building. Cereal4All is also working with Florida Atlantic University’s Community Service Club to collaborate on another cereal collection drive for the late spring term.
“Donations of cereal are dropped off at Boca Helping Hands’ main facility in east Boca Raton where there is a storage and packing warehouse,” Luke said. “The donations are weighed and organized. If there’s a large food drive that doesn’t fit in someone’s car, then we schedule a pick-up with a BHH driver and truck.”
Boca Helping Hands Executive Director Greg Hazle said the twins have become household names in Boca Raton.
“They inspire everyone around them to make a difference and set a great example for kids and adults alike. Each year their cereal drive grows, and we’re grateful they continue to provide us with much-needed cereal to help families in need,” he said.