Gilbert girl’s effort to end hunger is part of important family lesson

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

On Sundays, the homeless in downtown Phoenix get a special visit from a 12-year-old Khiana Provido, who lives in Gilbert.

“Bright and early, we’ve got a lot of stuff to do,” said John Provido, her father.

Khiana wakes up at 5 a.m. And after brushing her teeth, she immediately gets to work putting together 150 sack lunches in her family’s kitchen. The 12-year-old carefully prepares peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips and cookies, eventually putting them all together with bottled water in a brown lunch bag.

“I add hearts and stars. I just personalize them a little bit,” she said.

Hours of preparation to feed 150 hungry strangers living on the streets.

“I’m sure they don’t have a lot of food, and when they smile it makes me smile,” said Khiana.

The entire cost of this effort is paid for using $400 in scholarship money the 12-year-old gets each month as the reigning National American Miss Arizona Preteen.

Her parents, Provido and Ched Cruz, couldn’t be more proud, because the cause is personal.

“That one meal can be a game changer for somebody’s life,” said Provido.

“I grew up in the Philippines so that means I grew up poor. I would go hungry,” said Cruz.

“We didn’t have much extra food so we went digging in the trash. That’s just the way of life, third world country; what options do you have?” said Provido.

Now that they live in the United States, the couple is raising Khiana with an important lesson.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t take much to help out,” said John Provido.

It's a lesson Khiana takes to heart and to the downtown Phoenix streets as she passes out her carefully-prepared lunches.

“Are you hungry?” asked Khiana to someone laying on the street.

“Here you go!” she said as she hands him the brown sack from the red wagon she’s carrying them in.

Many, like Michael, a homeless Army veteran, are speechless.

“Not having food in my stomach feels like I’m dying. Every day we are thinking, where is our next meal? She’s making a difference; that’s the type of thing that answers our prayers,” said Michael.

While the lunches go fast, many thankful strangers are left with an important feeling.

“That little girl, she’s making it happen for us. It helps us to look at ourselves knowing there are good people out there. That alone is a reminder that we can be good people too,” said Michael.

Khiana hopes to compete for Miss America and Miss Philippines one day with the same platform of ending hunger.

If you'd like to help, you can donate to her PayPal account by using her email address, | Khiana Michelle Provido

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