ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — A non-profit organization in Limestone County is stepping in to fill the needs of students who face food insecurity. They’re doing so by sending school children home with food over the weekend.
“Our biggest concern is that there are children going home on Friday and they may not have food until they come back to school on Monday,” Amanda Jones, the director of Fully Tummy, said.
Full Tummy is a faith-based organization that connects churches and schools. Local school counselors and parent liaisons are able to let Full Tummy know how many children need additional food over the weekend. The organization can then provide the children in need with a grocery bag filled with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, and two snacks with minimal cooking required.
Jones says children with these needs are the community’s responsibility.
“When you see a need, especially in your community, when it’s right here, it’s our responsibility to step up and take care of those children,” she said. “Because those children, they are not making these decisions of being hungry. They can’t go out and get a job they are doing that they can do but there are so many things that are just completely out of their hands and it’s up to us to fill in those gaps.”
The churches that take part in Full Tummy take over the responsibility of each school. They fundraise and collect money, bag the food and deliver it to the schools. One church volunteer says she’s gotten feedback from those receiving the bags.
“I’ve had a dad send a letter back. Heather Kiel, who volunteers for Central Church of Christ’s Full Tummy ministry, said. “He had two children two sons receiving bags with Full Tummy and he sent me a letter back saying that it made a big difference in his children’s lives and how much they appreciated the food to have over the weekend.”
The process is very discreet, allowing children in need to receive privacy while receiving services.
“My children have never actually seen children receive the bags and I love that because that child doesn’t need any attention drawn to them,” Jones said. “That could be an opportunity for bullying or there’s just a lot that could open that door. So our counselors, our parent liaisons are very careful in trying their best to make sure that it’s very discreet that those backpacks are packed with this food without anyone else knowing.”
For the last five years, Full Tummy has solely been in Athens City Schools and recently they were able to expand to schools in Limestone County