Interviewed by Leslie Criss | Photographed by Joe Worthem
Louisiana born and raised, Cami Bianco has lived in Oxford for almost 22 years. She has been married to Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco for 29 years, and they are the parents of five children. A member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Cami is currently serving on the board of Lovepacks, and she helps each week with packing and ordering food. She also serves on the Oxford Boys and Girls Club board. She teaches middle school girls at St. John on Wednesday nights and is also part of the Oxford High School PTO.
Q: Were you a baseball fan before you met and married Coach Bianco?
A: I have always enjoyed baseball. I had several close friends who played in high school, and I would go to games whenever I could. I was a student trainer and a “batgirl” at LSU when I met Mike, so, I guess I was already a big fan. Baseball is how we met and has been a huge part of our lives ever since. For that reason, it has become my favorite sport.
Q: You are the mother of five. Have all of them been involved in a sport?
A: All five of my children have been athletes. The boys all played football, basketball and baseball. A couple of them ran track in middle school. My daughter just finished up her high school volleyball career. Each sport has brought joy, some heartache, many valuable lessons and new friends.
Q: Tell us a bit about Lovepacks and your involvement with it.
A: Lovepacks is a 501c3 organization. We have three pantries within the area schools and three groups of students within those schools who pack for us each week. We are currently serving 200 students per week. We have no guaranteed funding, but we live in the best and most generous community. The Oxford/Lafayette community has supported us every year since the fall of 2010. Our mission is to provide food to students in Oxford and Lafayette school districts on weekends and holidays within the school year. Many of our Lovepack kids depend on school breakfast and lunch for their food needs. We wanted to supplement that and help them on the weekends and over the school holidays.
Q: What drew you to Lovepacks?
A: I became involved in the summer of 2010. My friends Mary Leary and Helen Phillips had just finished a pilot program at Bramlett Elementary to see if there was a food insecurity need within the local school district. They asked Alyce Krouse and me to help them create Lovepacks.
Q: Since this is Invitation’s pet issue, tell us about Bianco family pets.
A: Our family has three pet members — all three rescues. Our oldest dog is Miss RBI — we call her Ribby. Her litter was found at Sardis Lake almost 16 years ago. We also have Coach, a rescue from the animal shelter. He is almost 15 and thinks he is the king, which is funny because he is only 8 pounds. Our youngest dog, Versace, came to us through our oldest son, who rescued her while in junior college. She came to us named, so she did not get a baseball name. They are all such a big part of our family.