Full Tummy Project expands

Published 12:02 am Friday, October 24, 2014

Nearly 150 children are keeping full tummies thanks to the expanded efforts of the local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) program, and the community’s help is needed to meet the demand.

MOPS began the Full Tummy Project to administer bags of food to help area students who are in need of extra meals outside of school hours.

“The need is growing, and we would like to continue to fulfill our promise to the schools and these kids,” MOPS organizer Andrea Hindmon said.

The project was started earlier this year and was helping students in kindergarten through second grade, but they saw a need in upper classes so they have expanded to the sixth grade.

“We were able to do so well in the spring that when we saw the need, we wanted to expand the project,” Hindmon said. “We are serving 146 kids each week amoung the five schools we cover.”

Hindmon said it costs roughly $26,000 a year to feed area children, and Andalusia, Opp, Straughn, Red Level and Pleasant Home are all schools covered by the project.

“We need to get more people onboard to help us make a difference for these kids in our community,” Hindmon said. “There is a huge need in the community and so we just felt our part was to help fill that need.”

Hindmon said the group is looking for individual or corporate sponsorships and a name or logo can be included in any publicity they are involved with, and donations are tax deductible.

The project works with school administration and counselors who tell members how many children are in need, so that they can bring the correct amount of food bags.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Andalusia Elementary School Counselor Samantha Russell said. “The children seem very grateful.”

Russell said at first, the children did not understand what they were being given, so she explained to them that it was snacks for the weekend.

Additionally, she said she sent a note home to the parents when the project began, and the parents were very thankful as well.

“We call the children to the door privately and put the food into their bookbags,” she said. “The other kids don’t know their classmates are getting the food.”

The project will accept monetary or food donations, however the list of food items is specific, Hindmon said.

Food items for the bags are required to be easily opened and not involve heating or water to prepare, and include breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and a drink.

For a full list of the items or ways to donate, contact Hindmon at 334-222-3080 or email mops@gmail.com.

Monetary donations can also be dropped off at the First Presbyterian Church or to members of the MOPS.