Tucson organization launches new campaign to raise awareness of childhood hunger

Tucson organization launches new campaign to raise awareness of childhood hunger
Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 7:30 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 19, 2023 at 7:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Steven Cota-Robles, the founder and executive director of the Tucson Family Food Project, tackles several objectives to help the 46,000 children facing hunger in Tucson.

The organization aims to not only address lack of access to food immediately, but to teach kids long term skills like cooking and shopping for healthy foods.

Cota-Robles recently announced the launch of a new social media campaign, “Feed the Kids,” aimed to increase awareness of childhood hunger across Tucson.

“I was thinking of a way to make our mission very digestible for the public,” said Cota-Robles. “And I was like what is the simplest way I can put this out to the public that everyone will understand, so we came up with this term called Feed the Kids.”

Currently, the Tucson Family Food Project provides meal kits and educational training videos to more than 100 middle school students.

“We’re noticing in these kids that they’re excited to be in the kitchen. It’s a really exciting place for them, they can be creative, and it builds their confidence,” he says.

With the launch of the Feed the Kids campaign, Cota-Robles hopes to increase the number of students served. Next year, kits will be given to students at Safford K-8, but Cota-Robles hopes to connect with all schools in the area.

The campaign isn’t an independent project. Organizations like the Tucson Roadrunners, and Chef Maria Mazon from BOCA are collaborating on this project to help spread the word and mission of the Tucson Family Food Project.

“Tucson is this very unique town, in that yes, we’re a big city but we’re a small town, in a lot of the ways you know the same people, you see the same people out,” started Cota-Robles. “So our goal in partnering with these businesses, that through their outreach, they’re reaching parts of the city that we may not.”

For Steven, however, the start of the project was a risk. Selling his home to get funding, Cota-Robles had no idea where the journey will take him. But he says it was a risk worth taking.

“When I initially sold my house to start this, the idea was I really hope it works. I told my brother and sister I might need a sofa to crash on if this doesn’t work. Well the mentality has changed, as now that we finished our first full year, we can see the results in the students; we’re hearing from the parents and we’re hearing it from the teachers.”

“We’ve gone from ‘wow, I really hope this works,’ to no, we know it works. And we need to grow it, because it really is helping people and impacting kids lives.”

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