LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A handful of volunteers came together Saturday morning at Emory Elementary School to help distribute food to families in need. Elementary school teacher Kendra Smith and her mom started the Zara Project in 2011.

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“I saw the anxiety that kids would have when they would go on break because they received breakfasts and lunches at school.”

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Named after the Inca Goddess of grain, the Zara Project works to fill the hunger gap some children suffer when they go on winter break.

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“It’s a really big help. It means the world to us,” said Regina Nunez.

Regina is a grandmother of two boys.

“They’re warm, beautiful souls who just want to run and play be youngsters.”

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When their father died, the weight of raising the boys fell to her and their grandfather Paul Rodriguez.

“You know they’re boys, so they eat us out of house and home, so it really helps,” she said.

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The first year they were able to feed 30 families from one school. This year, they will provide food to 250 families from six different schools.

“We’re all working together just to help each other out,” said Kendra.

Kendra Smith (credit: CBS)

Thanks to volunteers, every dollar donated goes directly to feeding hungry families.

Those families, like Regina and Paul, are grateful for a community that comes together in such extraordinary ways.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Their love and their sharing, and their giving is more than they’ll ever know,” she said.

Learn more about the work the Zara Project does. Volunteers and donations are accepted.

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