Educators collecting food for hungry students ahead of teacher walk-out

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As teachers prepare to walk out of their classrooms next week, one group of educators wants to make sure its kids have something to eat while they're not in school. 

Nearly 54 percent of Arizona's students are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Some of these are kids who may get their only meals of the day at school. If schools close for a teacher walk-out, those meals may not be an option. 

"The most important thing to us is to make sure that all of our students in our community have meals in case we do have a walk-out," said Valerie Baker, a fourth-grade teacher within the Deer Valley School District. 

Baker, along with Jeanine Frandsen, another fourth-grade teacher, and several other community members, are now organizing a food drive. They're accepting donations at three locations, Sonoran Foothills school, Norterra Canyon school, and Nathalie & Co. Dancewear and Little Things in the Shops at Norterra mall. 

The teachers know if there's a walkout, some of their students could go hungry. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Schools in Crisis]

"In some of our more needy schools, there are kids who the only meal that they get is at school," said Frandsen. 

At the dancewear boutique, canned goods are already started to stack up. With the help of other community members, Frandsen plans to disperse the items to various schools in the district. 

From there she says teachers and administrators will hand them to the students they know need it most. 

"We know our students really well and we know our families, and we know who needs the support so we know who discreetly help with their food needs," said Frandsen. 

If plans for Thursday's walkout happen to change, they're going to donate the items to local food banks.

"We're hoping it won't come to that and our Governor and our legislature will come up with a plan and it won't come to this," said 

We reached out to various Valley school districts. The Peoria Unified School District is currently compiling a list of resources it will send to parents if there is a closure. It's asking charitable groups to submit a form detailing any services they could provide families during the walk-out. 

Other districts, including Tempe Union High School District, say they will wait to announce what food resources will be available when and if they formally announce a closure next week. 

If you are from a church group, school district, or teacher organizing meals for students during the teacher walk-out, please email to be added to this article. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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