The auditorium at Collegedale Academy was filled with students, teachers, pastors, and parents on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Everyone stood and applauded Barbara Cadavero as she entered, marking a historic moment to celebrate a legacy that began 40 years ago with her late husband, Richard, and his love of community.
Richard Cadavero, “Cad,” as family and friends knew him, began teaching at Collegedale Academy in the early 1980s.
“He always wanted to do more than just be teaching in the classroom,” Barbara said. “He was immersed in this, and made sure his students knew how to help others.”
His drive for caring for others and serving his community sparked an idea for Cadavero. In the fall of 1983, he challenged his class to collect 5,000 canned food items to donate to a local nonprofit. Thus, Project 5,000 was born.
In its first year, the effort was so successful that Cadavero decided to make it an annual outreach. From year to year, he upped the challenge for students: Project 8,000, Project 11,000 … and the donations from the community only grew. Cad went from collecting items in the classroom to spreading out across the school’s stage in the auditorium.
“As a student in the late 1980s, I recall it being a fun time for us getting out into our local community and collecting cans for the Samaritan Center,” said Franklin Farrow, now board chair at the Samaritan Center.
By 2003, Cadavero’s classroom challenge had spread to a school-wide mission, and students were bringing in more than 40,000 canned goods. Parents, teachers, and pastors were drivers, taking students into local neighborhoods where they handed out empty paper grocery bags and fliers explaining the effort.
“The neat thing is that my two kids also attended Collegedale Academy, and I was able to drive them as a parent to the various neighborhoods to pick up donations,” noted Farrow.
Before Cadavero’s retirement in 2009, Tom Hayes, pastor, renamed the effort CAD4HOPE in honor of his colleague.
This year, CAD4HOPE celebrated 40 years of helping to bridge the gap for an entire community with food and hope.
“It’s just wonderful that [the drive] has gone on this long,” said Barbara Cadavero. “It’s so important for these students at a time in their lives when they’re learning and realizing how much they can help the community.”
Bringing in more than 7.5 tons of food this year, “the CAD4HOPE food drive is one of those win-win situations,” said Erin Barthle, associate executive director of the Samaritan Center. “It is an opportunity to see our young people living out Collegedale Academy’s mission to serve others and reflect Christ’s character.”
She continued to explain that it is through the students’ service and this legacy of an event that the Samaritan Center receives the majority of the food needed to serve the community for the following year.
“In the last 12 months, we’ve provided more than 40,000 food items to hungry families in our community,” she added. “We are beyond grateful to celebrate the 40th anniversary of CAD4HOPE and the Cadaveros’ love of people, and desire to instill the act of service in our students.”
Read an expanded version of this story at www.gccsda.com.
Georgia-Cumberland | January 2024