Ties and Tutus

These students picked out their own ties and tutus to partake in the 2.22.22 donation event.


Feeding Students USA is a nonprofit dedicated to providing nutrition and meals to families in need around the Valley. They host a weekend produce pop-up, a weekend lunch program, and distribute emergency food boxes – but one of their most successful programs is their food pantry. 

In their efforts, FSUSA often partners with Arizona schools, businesses and volunteers to collect food in order to stock the pantries, and Tavan Elementary students got the chance to help this past February during a special day: 2.22.22.

The school hosted the “2.22.22 Feeding Students USA Donation Drive” and celebrated not only the donations, but the palindrome (a word, phrase or sequence that reads the same backward and forward) itself, by dressing in tutus and ties. 

The school collected over 700 items, including canned vegetables and fruits, soups, milk, chicken and tuna, cereal, peanut butter, reusable grocery bags and other pantry safe items.

Students Luciana, Dior, Pablo and Max – second graders in Ms. DeVenuto’s class – all had the same feeling after participating:

“We felt very kind and happy, and really nice on the outside. The drive made us feel like good people,” they said. 

Fourth-grader Joelle shared the sentiment: “I donated to the food drive because people need food and water to survive. It made me feel good because I’m helping people who don’t have enough,” he said.

Founder and chairman of FSUSA, Joni Sucato, said they were honored to help and be helped.

“We have partnered with Tavan for the last six years,” Sucato said. “They are so gracious and wonderful. Our main goal and mission are to make sure that no student comes to school hungry or that they have enough food in their pantry for lunch and dinner at night.”

Vice president of Tavan PTO Cheri Pierce echoed the mission of the FSUSA pantry, citing that it is important all year-round.

“People will donate around the holidays – which is great – but our community tries to support this organization throughout the year,” Pierce said. “Tavan has needed financial help in the past, and because of this, we believe in giving back to the community in any way we can. I want to shine the light that Tavan has taken some help along the way, and now we’re giving back.”

Tavan and FSUSA will partner up again in May for another food drive.