Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 11-21-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND – What started as a way for 11-year-old Emily Raimondi to get rid of the Halloween candy she didn't want this year has turned into a sweet 275-pound donation to soldiers. After setting up collection bins at a handful of locations around Cumberland, the 6th-grader at McCourt Middle School has amassed 153 pounds of chocolate and 122 pounds of non-chocolate candy, which will be given to troops who are about to be deployed. "It's important because they do so much for us, but they don't get enough in return for what they do," said Emily, daughter of Erinn and Nicholas Raimondi of Cumberland. The chocolate will be donated to the Yellow Ribbon Project and the non-chocolate is going to Operation Holiday Cheer, said Emily, who dubbed the fundraising campaign #TreatsForTroops. Places that have collected candy since Halloween are Cumberland High School, McCourt Middle School, Garvin Elementary School, Slow Molasses Country Shoppe & Gifts in Cumberland, and Mastery Martial Arts in Cumberland. McCourt, 45 Highland Ave. in Cumberland, and Mastery Martial Arts, 1702 Mendon Road in Cumberland, are still collecting donations through Wednesday, Nov. 27. Emily said she and her mom are going to make goody bags and include notes with the candy. "She just has a really good heart," her mom, who's an occupational thera- pist at the Providence VA Medical Center, told The Breeze. Emily and Erinn said they're so grateful for the support they've received. "It's so impressive how this town has rallied around her in all of her endeavors throughout the years," Erinn said. What might have motivated Emily with this campaign, her mother said, is the fact that her mother, Jeanne Ballou, of Cumberland, is a veteran. She was the first female officer in Rhode Island, and while she was never deployed, she trav- eled a lot, and Erinn's never shied away from talking about that with her own daughter. Emily is no stranger to commu- nity service and was named one of Rhode Island's top two youth vol- unteers of 2019 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for raising more than $13,000 for the Travis Roy Foundation, which helps people with spinal cord injuries by providing grants and funding research. Community service makes Emily happy, she said, "because I know it's benefiting others and not just myself." Erinn said her daughter's volun- teerism has always been her idea ever since she was little and that she wants to be a special education teacher when she grows up. Emily has always wanted to help others, especially those in her community; whenever she sees kids who might be struggling, she wants to jump in, her mom said. Her next fundraising effort is a toy drive in conjunction with Cumberland first responders, in which any toys donated will be given to local children in need this holiday. On Friday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., people can bring a new unwrapped toy to Mastery Martial Arts in Cumberland as admission to an event featuring activities, arts and crafts, and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Toys for ages 6 to 12 are the most needed. Cumberland youth collects 275 pounds of treats for troops By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer 12 CUMBERLAND NOVEMBER 21-27, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION EMILY RAIMONDI, 11, of Cumberland shows off some of the candy she raised in her #TreatsForTroops campaign. The 275 pounds of sweets she collected will be donated to active duty soldiers.

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