Like any other day, the police officials at Cobb County’s Precinct Two stopped to take a short lunch break recently. Unlike other meals, however, this time there was no rush, and no one even had to take out their wallet. All this, thanks to a Hispanic citizen and long-time resident of the area, who has taken it upon himself to give back to the law enforcement community.
Juan Violantes, owner of Giovanni´s Restaurant and founder of Giovanni´s Children Foundation, has carried out his mission of offering free meals to both policemen and firemen for the past six years. For Violantes, special occasions such as Thanksgiving are the perfect excuse to do so.
“We want to feed those who take care of our community. Unsung heroes to whom we should give thanks for protecting us,” said Violantes.
Violantes has experienced a rocky road in his own journey in this country. He started out working nine years in the construction industry.
“I ended up sleeping on the floor, and it was difficult,” he explained, teary eyed. Eventually, however, he started to grow and went on to form his own company. Nowadays, Violantes has made it his business to launch a series of initiatives with the goal of donating food and other resources to those most in need, both here in the United States and also in his native El Salvador.
For their part, officials in Precinct Two made a point to express their thanks and also to address the Hispanic community.
“We want to thank Juan. Little by little, he has done so much for our community, and he always nourishes our team. Sometimes, in the media we are perceived to be the bad guys from the movies, especially lately, but people like Juan and programs like this make you want to come to work every day,” assured O.S. Hamilton, precinct captain.
Lt. John P. Knoblach also found the words to express his gratitude. “It’s good to know that there are leaders like Juan in our community. It’s exactly what we’re trying to do, work together on these types of initiatives. What they do in our community is important, and we want to reach out and get to know our community,” he added.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.