Oct 4, 2012 5:07 PM by Kean Bauman
TUCSON - It's still a little hot but fall temperatures are right around the corner so it is time to launch our 4th annual Kristi's Kids, Season 4 Hope campaign.
We are gathering clothing, toys and food for local kids in need.
Tucson is the 6th poorest city in the nation with a poverty rate just over 20% according to a recent report from the Census Bureau.
In southern Arizona, 1 in 4 kids experience hunger according the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
This is why we've teamed-up with The Food Bank, Toys 4 Tots, Gospel Rescue Mission and area fire departments. We want to change lives and spread hope.
"After using it for awhile it seemed to take control of my life and slowly but surely I started losing everything I had," says Zena Gibbs.
Zena was addicted to meth for 20 years. She and her son, Danny, were homeless living some of the time in a trailer with no running water or electricity.
Zena says every day was a struggle, but the holidays?
"The holidays magnified the longing to have some sort of a normalcy."
Fortunately Zena learned about the gospel rescue mission, in 2009.
"It's all grace based and that was what I needed at the time because I felt really rejected by society. And I didn't know how to connect and become a member of society again."
Gospel Rescue Mission placed her and Danny in a shelter, helped Zena overcome her addiction and provided education, so she could get a job.
Zena and Danny moved into an apartment last month, the first place in years that they can truly call their own.
"It's really exciting," she says. "A step of faith because it's a little scary being on my own, as a single parent."
The Community Food Bank also sees a critical need. Every month 100,000 kids are served. The sluggish economy is still having an impact.
"Things for us aren't going to change until people go back to work. So when it comes to need, it's greater than it was last year," says Bill Carnegie, CEO of the Food Bank.
Zena is grateful for the help that's come her way and is shocked by how far she's come.
"It's still sinking in. I'm just overwhelmed with joy."
Zena says she'll stay involved with the Gospel Rescue Mission helping other women who are struggling. Click here for all drop-off locations for clothing, food and toys.