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Last year my mom, JoLee, aunt Lorraine and Nanu ran into a woman who every year tells this story below on Thanksgiving. She shared the story with us and we shared the story at our Thanksgiving table and made a donation in honor of the Leo & Sons legacy of generosity and community.

This year, I'm setting up a page for the No Kid Hungry fund in order to raise money in the spirit of my grandfather and his brothers. Please read the story below, pass along this page, and contribute to the tradition of giving to those less fortunate! Every $50 you donate can help connect hungry kids to 500 meals.

The Thanksgiving Story

I’ve told this story before, and I’m repeating it again, as I will do every Thanksgiving Day. It reminds me of a time when people gave without asking, when eyes could see the need of others and willingly helped, with no expectations or rewarding fanfare. Just true, honest, kindness for others.

I am lucky enough to have a story that warms my heart and brings me gratitude every Thanksgiving Day. Back 50 years ago when my mother was left with 3 young girls. No job, no money, no Government benefits that now flood the system. Or, if there was Ma was too proud to ask. Though I do remember a brick of cheese would mysteriously appear on the back door steps once a month. Anyways, when Dad left, Ma slowly started selling the furniture. When my father and lived home my mother bought antiques, she knew what to look for and what was of value. I knew when the white van pulled up and a chubby man and his cat rimmed glasses wife came out of the van, Ma was in need of money. I would hear her say to them “but, that’s worth”. It didn’t matter. So, one by one, the furniture left the house. Until stacks of newspapers were our “chairs”. Holidays weren’t as happy for Ma, as it was for so many.

One night there was a knock at the door. Ma went to answer it and of course I had to follow to see who was at the door. There stood 2 men. They were from the local grocery story Leo and Sons. Before Ma could get a word out, one of them spoke up and said “Ethel, you won the raffle we had at the store” and they proceeded to carry in bags and bags of food along with a big, fat turkey to cook. As I watched Ma, tears welling in her eyes, as they do now for me every year as I recall and write this, she said to Mr. Casciano “I didn’t register for a turkey raffle”... Mr. Casciano, who wore the black glasses, was the first to give Ma a hug and say Happy Thanksgiving, followed by the other gentlemen. Ma thanked them, overcome with joy from their generosity. They knew the true meaning of kindness, to give without acknowledgment or praise. That year we had the best Thanksgiving Dinner.

After that Ma got a job as a typist with the State of New York and we were O.K. So, on this day of gratitude I would like to thank the Casciano Family for all their generosity to the residents of East Syracuse, I’m quite sure my mother was not the only recipient of their kindness. I carry that lovely memory with me and I am now proud to share it.

Several years ago I have the chance to tell the above story to the wife of one of the Casciano “boys”, as Ma called them, and we both teared up, she knew nothing of his kind gift, I was happy I could tell her and thank her.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


raised of $1,000 goal

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1. CTChad Tolhurst
Love you Frank Casciano aka Papa!!
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So proud to be part of the Casino family and hope to carry on Papa's giving spirit!
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