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Jun 20, 2012 10:32 AM

Tucson woman tries to tackle hunger at east side elementary school

TUCSON- A Tucson woman wants to make sure children at one east side elementary school start their day with a full stomach.

Back in March, Nina Straw was watching a TV show about childhood hunger in America. She doesn't have any children of her own, but decided she wanted to do something to help. "I can't think of anything more important than feeding our children," Straw says.

She headed to Bloom Elementary School, the school closest to her east side home, and asked administrators there what she could do. "I still remember the day Nina came in, she was very emotional," Bloom Principal Norma Flores says.

After some online research, Straw found a national program called "Blessings in a Backpack". The non-profit organization feeds K-8 students who qualify for the government's Free and Reduced Lunch Program. "Every weekend we will send them home on Friday with a little backpack and we will put two breakfasts and two lunches in there," Straw says.

At Bloom Elementary 40% of the students qualify for the program. "I don't think people realize how much hunger is here at our own schools and I don't think people realize how much kids do worry about food," Principal Flores says.

Straw says she'll need $12,500 to feed all the students at Bloom who qualify. Since March she has gone door to door, asking neighbors and local businesses to donate to the cause. So far she is about a third of the way there.

The deadline for donations for Blessings in a Backpack for the 2012-2013 school year is July 15. There will be a fundraiser July 14 at Brunswick Lanes at 114 South Camino Seco from 12pm to 2pm.

You can also contact Nina Straw at ninastraw@yahoo.com

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