VINELAND — Rocco Salamone was enjoying his favorite cereal, Kellogg’s, one morning when he saw that one in seven children in America suffer from hunger. It was at this point that Rocco knew he wanted to help make a difference, so he created a group, The Hunger Reliever Team, and invited 15 of his friends to participate.
In late September of 2020, this 9-year-old boy along with the help of friends, family, and the community at large, started a food drive that lasted six weeks. It resulted in the delivery of more than 8,000 items to three food pantries: Kings Things Christian Thrift Store in Swedesboro, Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, and the Medford Lakes Lions Club.
With approximately $24,000 in food donations, Rocco himself raised a total of $1,100 dollars, all of which was used to purchase food for this drive. Kellogg’s donated 1,600 boxes of cereal directly to the three food pantries, bringing the total to more than 9,600 food donations.
This bold, determined, and ambitious young boy has no plans of stopping until hunger no longer exists. And this is why in February, it was an easy decision to name Rocco Salamone as this month’s Heartland Hero
Rocco is a 4th grade student with an optimistic outlook on life. He is engaged in martial arts and recently received his green belt. Other positive activities that Rocco enjoys are writing his books entitled, “The Adventures of Pencil and Page.” The future looks bright for Rocco, and we want to continue to cheer him on.
For these reasons, it is no wonder why his mother calls him the boy with the biggest heart. It is also why New Jersey’s Heartland is proud to honor Rocco Salamone of Swedesboro as the February 2021 Heartland Hero Winner.
While New Jersey’s Heartland is filled with hidden gems, its biggest treasures are the people who make the region a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. All Heartland Heroes receive a Heartland Heroes Certificate and Gift Basket in recognition of their award. To nominate your Heartland Hero, visit http://njheartland.org/live/heartland-heroes-nomination-form/.