By Ryan Cornell
FRONT ROYAL -- The Salvation Army in Front Royal received some help on filling the 287 Christmas food boxes people requested this year.
Six Randolph-Macon Academy cadets unloaded a 15-passenger van full of donated food and clothing on Thursday.
Ninth grader Alek Iakomi, of Lancaster, Pa., served as the leader in charge of organizing the project this year. Helping out others less fortunate is an issue that's close to his heart.
"My parents were in a situation when they were not that wealthy," he said. "They came from Russia and they had people help them out. They're still friends with them today."
Stephanie Portillo, a Spanish teacher and community service program director at the school, said this is the third year they have donated a vanload of supplies to the Salvation Army. She said she got the idea when the school was phasing out its passenger vans and she came up with another use for them.
She said the donated food and clothing -- which she estimated to be between 2,500 and 3,500 pounds -- come from faculty, staff, students and their parents.
"This is 100 percent RMA contributions," she said.
Portillo described the Salvation Army as a "noble organization."
"It stays right here in the local community," she said. "A lot of faculty and staff have children in this community as well."
The Salvation Army will be collecting donations at the Front Royal Walmart from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org