A very Happy Thanksgiving at Robinson Gardens
For Petra Menger, the makings of a complete turkey dinner are a lifesaver for herself and her family.
“It’s great for my family, this really helps a lot,” said the resident of Springfield Housing Authority’s Robinson Gardens Apartments. “We’d never have anything like this otherwise. It makes a real difference.”
Menger’s family is one of 10 this year who received groceries for complete Thanksgiving dinners, thanks to a benefactor who ‘adopted’ the family housing development in the Pine Point section of the city.
It happened thanks to local businessman Santino Tomassini, who has been buying school supplies, holiday meals and other needed items for Robinson Gardens residents for the past five years, in a giving program organized by SHA’s family-based early literacy program, Talk/Read/Succeed!
Menger said simply, “We thank Santino Tomassini for helping us at Thanksgiving. He is much appreciated here.”
SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan said the agency and residents are always grateful for generous givers whose largesse is just so that the less fortunate may get a boost when they most need it.
“We thank Mr. Tomassini for his generosity and kindness, and for always having Robinson Gardens residents in his heart,” Jordan said. “This will make a big difference for our families there.”
One of the 10 family dinners was given by the Zion Community Baptist Church. In addition to that, each of the 11 members of the Robinson Gardens Youth Group will receive either a ham or a turkey, courtesy of Tomassini.
T/R/S! Youth Engagement Coordinator Jimmie Mitchell also thanked Tomassini for his generosity at this time and always, and for making the Youth Group a regular part of his ongoing giving back to the community.
“Our wonderful donor Santino has come back once again, to help our families at Robinson Gardens,” Mitchell said. “We are very grateful for him and all that he has done for us.”
Tomassini, who eschews public appearances and credit for his giving, has been helping out Robinson Gardens residents the past five years. He has been especially generous to the Youth Group, teens who meet every weekday afternoon with Mitchell for programs, discussions and guest speakers.
Mitchell is hoping to grow the holiday giving program next year at Robinson Gardens to 25 families, with an eventual goal of all at the 136-unit development.
“All I can say is thanks so much for Mr. Tomassini,” said Octavia Jones, mother of three young children.
“This is such a big help. It means a whole lot to me and to my family,” she said. “This means I don’t have to shop for the whole meal, and spend a lot of money that I can’t afford.”
The meal will include a turkey, ham, potatoes, yams, green beans, rolls, apple sauce, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, gravy, cake and more.
Keishliand Sanchez said the gifts are sure to make her family happy on Thanksgiving Day.
“This is huge for us,” said Sanchez, whose baby boy is recovering from a recent open heart surgery.
“I don’t know what we’d do without this. It helps a lot. Besides the money, it’s really hard for me to get out with my son. He needs a lot of help,” she added.
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