North Atlanta JROTC Breaks APS Fundraising Record for Empty Stocking Fund


Lynette Minnick

North Atlanta JROTC broke a school — and district — record by raising nearly $10,000 in one weekend for the Empty Stocking Fund.

For one important weekend, the JROTC cadets of North Atlanta had one all-encompassing strategic mission: Helping others.

When the holidays approach, many people turn their thoughts toward charity. But thoughts are one thing – and action is distinctly different. During the weekend of November 4 and 5, more than 80 cadets fanned out to establish a charitable presence at Krogers in and around Buckhead. The cadets’ mission was to collect funds for the Empty Stocking Fund, a charity that provides parents and guardians of children living in poverty to give them an opportunity to give Christmas gifts.

Every year JROTC cadets collect funds for the charity and toward this year’s ambitious fundraising goal of $10,000. Cadets stationed at area Krogers collected nearly $10,000 from Kroger shoppers. The specific figure for the weekend was $9,894, a weekend haul that constituted a record for Atlanta Public School JROTC programs. The impressive figure also dwarfed last year’s collection of around $6,000.

North Atlanta JROTC leaders said the annual fund-raising activity does a lot more than teach community service ideals to their charges. “It’s also a great way for North Atlanta to have a very visible presence in the community we’re a part of,” said Lt. Col. Lynette Minnick. “We’re a school that’s committed to serving the community we’re a part of and Empty Stocking is about the best way for us to show that.”

On both days cadets got up early to man their stations for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. shifts. Working in teams at specific Krogers, they stationed themselves in front and asked shoppers for contributions. As earnest appeals were made and money went into their hand-held cans, the cadets collectively saw a vast sum raised. Junior Louis Mintz was a team leader for cadets at both a Kroger on Cobb Parkway and another in Sandy Springs. He said every year he learns a lot about himself and about the kind-hearted nature of people. “There are so many nice people so it’s great when we get a chance to channel their charity toward something so worthwhile. We’re an amazing school and there’s so much going on here. But this really get us out there in the community to let people know we have a heart for them.”

The figure that North Atlanta JROTC cadets raise is likely to grow as the members push faculty and staff toward online giving. And as it continues to rise, so, too, does the message go forth: North Atlanta has a mission for service.