Andalusia Chamber holds ribbon-cutting for the Full Tummy Project of Covington County

Published 11:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Full Tummy Project of Covington County joined the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting officially celebrating its new location, which they opened in 2021.

“We started this project in 2014 after a need was recognized that we had community children and students not having proper nutrition or food on the weekends. We identified that as a problem and have been going strong ever since then to fill that gap on weekends when our schools are not open. Our schools do such a good job of feeding them breakfast, lunch, and snack with fresh fruits and vegetables, and we thought this would be a great way to fill that gap. A lot of our families live below the poverty line here in Covington County. With those statistics, we’re able to try and meet those needs and take some of the burden off the families,” Co-Founder Katie King said.

King added that Full Tummy prefers its donations to be made financially.

“We actually buy all of our food in bulk from two different purveyors in Andalusia. I always like to say our money goes really far because we can buy in bulk. I do get a lot of requests asking if I can bring this or that, and of course you can. Everything we give out is shelf-stabled and pop-top. It has to be prepared with no food or water so that any child can open it and easily eat it without parental supervision. The best way we have been able to stay afloat is because of really generous donors over the years.”

Co-Founder Jenny Pate stated that the community shows a lot of support to Full Tummy.

“We would not be able to do what we do without with the support of Covington County. We have a golf tournament every year where the community comes out full force. We get monthly donations from churches, organizations, and businesses. Covington County has gotten behind us 100 percent for our pack nights.”

Pack nights are held at Full Tummy every other Tuesday night. Tillman Family Eye Care kicked off the first pack night of the new school year Tuesday. “We pack for two weeks at a time and packed about 700 bags for 350 kids this year the other night,” Pate said.

Full Tummy takes pride in seeing children benefit from their hard work and generosity.

“We hear from the teachers and counselors saying these kids are coming to school and not starving on Monday. The feedback has been great since we started. Students are reported to Full Tummies anonymously. We have no names and are just given a number.”

According to Pate, the non-profit organization first began as a service project for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at the First Presbyterian Church.

“We helped out with Habitat for Humanity, and one of the girls in our group found this backpack project in Georgia. We mimicked that and started in January of 2014. Katie decided to go about doing it as the Full Tummy Project the next fall. We co-founded it and started full force at the Methodist Church for seven years before moving to our current location in 2021,” she said.

Full Tummy is located at 13761 Brooklyn Road, Suite D in Andalusia. For more information email covingtonfulltummies@gmail.com or find The Full Tummy Project of Covington County on Facebook.

“Katie had reached out to us about the Board of Directors for the Chamber coming to do a pack date, so we came and did that last fall. It was a great team-building time, and I told her that we would love for them to join the Chamber because we have a special place for non-profits. We really wanted to be able to help get the word out about what they do and have volunteers come pack for them. It’s wonderful to see children get what they need on weekends to help fight hunger and poverty the best we can. We’re excited to have them as a Chamber member and look forward to working with them,” AACC Executive Director Laura Wells said.

For more information about Tillman Family Eye Care, click here.