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Teachers In Queens Feed The Families Of Their Students To Prevent 'Catastrophic' Situation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Months of selflessness by New York City school teachers kept families from going hungry during the worst of the pandemic.

CBS2's Vanessa Murdock spoke to the Queens educators who took it upon themselves to nourish more than their students' minds.

"These kids are struggling," said teacher Sabia Din.

She's one of several teachers from IS 61 in Corona, Queens who decided to do so much more than educate through the pandemic.

In March, they started a mission to feed their students and their families.

"We decided we wanted to deliver food to them," Din said.


Using their own money, donating their time, teachers shop with spirit for staples, filling cart after cart with everything from rice to fresh fruit, putting their health at risk to deliver food to families in desperate situations.

"Two parents, four children were living on a half packet of beans and tap water," said teacher Robert Nisonoff. "If immediate steps weren't taken, things could have really gone from worse to just catastrophic."

"When we started asking all the school for help, donations, everybody started giving," said paraprofessional Susana Salvatierra.

"They just want to do what's best for our kids," said teacher Rosalie Parker.

More than 100 teachers and staff from IS 61 work on this collective effort that's helped hundreds of families.

"So far, approximately 300, more than once," Din said.

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On Tuesday, the teacher's mission got a boost from Goya: Enough food to feed 30 families.

"We want to pay tribute to these great teachers, who really stepped up for their students," said Rafael Toro, director of public relations, Goya Foods.

These selfless teachers loaded the non-perishables into their cars. The goods will be divvied up and passed on to those still going hungry.

"It's incredible when you go and you give this family [food], they don't have to say nothing. Their eyes say everything," Salvatierra said.

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"This is why I became a teacher," said teacher Gabriella Herbert. "To be part of such a caring community and to help students in more than just education."

To also be there for them in times of need.

The teachers tell us they plan to continue delivering food to families in need through the summer.

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