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Arizona Heart & Sol: Local group collects items for kids in need

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 8:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every week, KOLD News 13 partners with Casino Del Sol to highlight a person or organization going above and beyond in the community.

This week, we meet the founder of a group that’s stepping up for local students.

Maria Cardenas is with the United Hearts of Arizona, or Corazones Unidos de Arizona.

“Our organization is about direct service, specifically for low income students,” she said. “We work directly with schools during the year, we do different programs.”

She says one of the biggest projects they’ve started is a shoe and jacket drive at Mission View Elementary School. It started with 15 kids, she said, and grew to nearly 200 within a span of eight years.

“We provided 187 students with brand new shoes for school, and a warm jacket, and some underwear and, you know, gifts and toys and stuff like that” she said.

The group typically spends $80 per student, buying these kids name brand shoes to make sure they last. About 80% of these students eventually pass those items down to younger siblings, according to Cardenas.

Recently, United Hearts of Arizona hosted a memorial for those lost to COVID-19 and celebrate the survivors.

“I just tell my members, Just remember, you know, when you do things with love, you know things come back to you in a different way.’” she said.

On behalf of Casino Del Sol, Cardenas was presented with a $300 gift card.

“This will help a lot and actually is going to go directly to the shoe and jacket drive,” she said. “These will be able to sponsor at least four or five kids.”

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