MOPS to help fight hunger

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Andalusia Lions Club may happen to be a predominantly male club at the moment, but at its regular meeting Wednesday, the conversation centered around mothers.

Stephanie Bell, who will serve as co-coordinator, along with Andrea Hindmon, for the group MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in Andalusia this year, was on hand to tell club members about a new program meant to help local children battling hunger.

“It’s called the Full Tummy Project,” Bell said. “We started this last spring and modeled it after a program from Athens, Alabama.”

Bell said the purpose of the program is to provide a “bag” full of food on Fridays during the school year for elementary-age children who may otherwise not receive adequate nutrition over the weekends. Bell said in just two months during the spring, the project sent home more than 300 bags with student from Red Level and Pleasant Home elementary schools. This year, Bell said, MOPS members would like to see the program serve all elementary schools in Covington County.

“The children who qualify for this project are determined by the school’s administration and their identities are kept confidential,” she said. “Each school gives us the number of students in need. We simply deliver the number of food bags needed to individual schools each week for distribution on Friday.”

The biggest issue the group is facing right now, Bell told club members, is finding the money, as well as the physical hands, to get the job done.

“People can donate food or money, or their time,” she said. “We’re just a group of moms, so it really is quite an undertaking. Any help from the community would really be a blessing.”

Bell also said, while any donated items are helpful, monetary donations are encouraged over food donations.

“That’s because we might have people donate canned goods or things like that, and a typical five-year-old isn’t going to use a can opener,” she said. “It’s just easier for us in the group to shop and pick out the things they can open. With that said, any donation is greatly appreciated.”

Bell added that all monetary donations are tax deductible and may be given to any MOPS mom, or may be donated through the office of First Presbyterian Church of Andalusia.