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Placentia : Pupils at Topaz School Join in Fighting Hunger

At Topaz Elementary School, children recently gathered in an assembly, closed their eyes and imagined what it would be like if everyone in the world had food.

“I closed my eyes and thought of the people who are dying. I was thinking of them in my mind and how they are skinny and how they don’t have any food,” 9-year-old Lisa Duarte said.

The fourth-grader is one of 450 children in the Placentia school who have attended presentations on world hunger and sent Valentine’s Day cards to children in Kenya, and now are working to put on a talent show to benefit the national “Save the Children Fund.”

Teacher Patti Lovejoy said many of the children, who stroll the school’s hallways humming the song “We Are the World,” are beginning to realize “that they make a difference.” Before this year, “they said they didn’t know what was going on in the world.”

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Danielle Wilson, 10, said she is doing her share by selling raffle tickets for a talent show that the school’s fourth, fifth and sixth-graders are putting on June 12.

The show’s finale may not exactly resemble the recording that has dominated the nation’s airwaves, but that won’t stop the children and teachers from ending their program by singing “We Are the World.”

Danielle, a fifth-grader, said, “I think that I’m doing something by selling raffle tickets and the people who are buying them, they’re doing something. Some people don’t think so, but I do.”

Lisa said an increased awareness of world hunger is not the topic of discussion when she gathers with her friends to play. But she thinks of it at different times--"like when I’m eating. I feel sad and I don’t want to eat because I know they don’t have any food.”

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Tara Zapka, 12, also says she feels “guilty whenever I leave food on my plate,” or during the holidays, when “we are stuffing our faces and they don’t have anything.” Active in selling raffle tickets, the sixth-grader said she plans to continue working on benefit projects until “it (world hunger) stops.”


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