Full Tummy Project has successful 1st year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2015

After nearly a year in service, the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Fully Tummy Project has tripled the number of students it serves and is looking for the community’s help for donations to the program.

MOPS organizer Andrea Hindmon said the group is serving nearly 160 students.

The goal of the program is to administer bags of food to help local students who need extra meals outside of school hours.

MOPS announced last February that it was launching the project and Hindmon said they started off helping about 40 children in grades K-2.

“Last summer, we decided we needed to serve K-5 students at the five schools we serve,” she said. “We had had so much success, we decided it was important for us to complete those grades. We would like to add some of the outlying schools as well.”

The project currently serves students at Andalusia, Opp, Straughn, Red Level and Pleasant Home.

Hindmon said the greatest need has come from Red Level, where they drop off 60 bags each week. The other schools average about 25 bags each, she said.

Through the program, the children are identified through the school as not having what they need, and the group packs items discreetly and the items are placed into the children’s backpacks while the class is out of the classroom.

“It continues to remain anonymous,” she said. “The parents do have the option to opt-out, but we haven’t had anyone do that yet.”

Hindmon said members of the community have stepped up to help deliver the bags to the schools, including some high schools, Peer Helpers from LBWCC and others.

“There are several ways other community members can get involved,” she said. “And we encourage it.”

Hindmon said the expected budget is $26,000 to meet the needs throughout the year.

“We’re going to have to start over in the fall,” she said. “We are looking for sponsors who will commit to giving annually.”

Hindmon said donations are greatly needed because the group doesn’t want to have to scale backto which grades they are giving.

Additionally, donations of food are needed.

“Poptop cans are greatly needed,” she said. “We have to assume that they don’t have a can opener, etc. We need things like Beenie Weenies, Vienna Sausages, Chef Boyardee, ready-to-drink soup, peanut butter crackers, fruit cups, trail mix, Nutrigrain bars, individual boxes of cereal and poptarts. We also give out 100 percent juice boxes.”

Hindmon said monetary donations are most helpful, so they can purchase directly what is needed.

For more info, 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.