FIT – Food In Tummies

FIT MISSION:

To educate children, parents and the community in order to promote nutritional health and maximize student potential.

FIT VISION:

To eliminate weekend hunger in our community and ensure children and families have knowledge to make informed nutritional choices.

 

FIT – Food In Tummies is an innovative program designed by The Junior League of Austin (JLA) in collaboration with the Del Valle Independent School District (DVISD) to provide weekend nourishment to children grades K through 5th who qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which offers free and reduced meals to school children. During the 2016‐2017 school year, the FIT program will provide approximately 1,400 backpacks each week for 34 weeks to the entire student populations at both Baty Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary. The JLA provides more than 200 volunteers to pack the backpacks, deliver them to the school each Friday, collect the empty bags, and then re‐pack them with food for the following week. Healthy recipe cards and nutrition tips, written in both English and Spanish, are also included in the packs for students to share with their families.

“Nearly 90 percent of our student population lives at or below the poverty line,” Celina Bley, Del Valle ISD Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, said. “The FIT program makes a real impact—not only with the weekly backpacks, but the community interaction our children receive when members of the Junior League come on our campus each week.”

Now in its eighth year, the FIT program will continue to provide backpacks of nutritious food to all students at two Title 1 schools in Del Valle. Even though most schools within the Austin Independent School District report one in two students are eligible for the NSLP, Baty and Hillcrest, both in DVISD, currently report that over 97 percent of enrolled students are considered economically disadvantaged and are currently enrolled in the NSLP. Children who depend on meals at school may not have regular meals in the evenings or on weekends. That is where the FIT program steps in.

 

CHILDREN ARE HUNGRY

According to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, Texas ranks among the worst states in the nation for hunger, child hunger and obesity. One in every four children in Texas experiences food insecurity. Multiple studies and extensive research show that children who are hungry do not excel in school. The NSLP addresses the issue of hunger during the week, but not on the weekend. In most cases, it takes a child who has gone hungry through the weekend until Wednesday to recover only to start the cycle again each Friday. Children who go hungry over the weekend have higher rates of absenteeism, difficulty with concentration and classroom behavior.

By feeding an entire student population currently experiencing food insecurity, we expect to see improved attendance at school (especially on Mondays and Fridays), improved BMIs and decreased mobility of families whose children take part in the NSLP. Children in our community are hungry; help us feed them.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT FIT

FIT Fact Sheet
September 2015 Press Release

 

WHAT STUDENTS AND TEACHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT FIT

“Thank you for dedicating your time to prepare the individual bags. You truly provided a great service to our school.”   – 3rd Grade Teacher, Hillcrest Elementary

“I think having extra food over a weekend can be a lifesaver.”  – 1st Grade Teacher, Hillcrest Elementary

“Thank you for this program. You are servicing a need that would otherwise go unnoticed.”  – Pre‐K Teacher, Baty Elementary

“I love knowing the students have something healthy to eat.”  – 4th Grade Teacher, Baty Elementary

“Thanks for all the money you spent on our school. I’m sure everybody loved them because I did.  I loved the popcorn chips—it was my emergency snack.”  – 3rd Grade Student, Hillcrest Elementary

“Thank you for the food you donated to us; and thank you for filling our empty tummies.”  – 3rd Grade Student, Hillcrest Elementary

“I like receiving the FIT bag because when my mom is working and I’m hungry, I can get good food to eat.”  – 4th Grade Student, Baty Elementary

 

FIT IN THE NEWS

Please visit our Press Releases page.