Van Nuys : Tots Deliver Food in 'Walk for Hunger'

Tugging red wooden and metal wagons laden with beans, pastas, tuna, pudding mixes, potatoes and more, youngsters from Van Nuys Presbyterian Preschool staged a tot-sized "walk for hunger" Friday.

About 75 students of the school, accompanied by parents, teachers and a police officer, trekked the half a mile from their school at 14701 Friar St. to the Salvation Army, 14917 Victory Blvd., to deliver holiday food.

The children brought the nonperishable items from home and delivered them personally so they would be directly involved in the whole cycle of charity, said Betty Daratsos, the school's director. The school has conducted similar drives for 11 years.

"These young children are the adults of tomorrow, and we want the adults of tomorrow to have a sense of humanity," Daratsos said. "We want to develop their sense of altruism. Very young children are egocentric by nature, but this helps them get beyond that egocentrism."

Besides, she added, "The magic of Christmas is not only in the receiving, but in the giving."

The children appeared excited and a little awe-struck by the whole experience--especially by the massiveness of the Salvation Army facility, where they learned about programs for the less fortunate. Their excitement resumed when they joined Salvation Army workers in Christmas and Hanukkah songs.

The school's humanistic bent will be expressed next month with a winter clothing drive.

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