**During the COVID-19 crisis, the Food in Tummies Program continued to deliver weekend food bags to in-person students at Baty and Hillcrest Elementary Schools, as well as all three remote-student meal pick-up sites. The Junior League of Austin is proud to help our community during this time of need.**
Texas Association of School Board recognizes FIT for “Standing Up for Texas Public Schools” (2020)
To educate children, parents and the community in order to promote nutritional health and maximize student potential.
To eliminate weekend hunger in our community and ensure children and families have knowledge to make informed nutritional choices.
Food In Tummies (FIT) is an innovative program designed by The Junior League of Austin (JLA) in collaboration with the Del Valle Independent School District (DVISD) that provides weekend nourishment to children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Every week during the school year, 250 JLA member volunteers commit 200 hours to packing and delivering over 8,000 food items in weekend food bags to 1,000 DVISD students. Each food bag also includes a flyer in both English and Spanish with a recipe, tips to stay healthy, and other important information for students to share with their families.
Amid COVID-19, FIT instituted new safety systems, including temperature screenings, mask and glove-wearing policies, and social distancing to ensure children continued to receive necessary nutrition.
While schools continue to operate in a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning, FIT is also operating in a hybrid mode for the 2020-2021 school year. FIT is distributing weekend food bags to not only in-person students at Baty and Hillcrest Elementary Schools but also at all three of DVISD’s remote-student meal pick-up sites.
In total during the Fall 2020 semester, FIT delivered ~8300 backpacks (~62,000 food items) and 40 turkeys for the holidays. FIT also coordinated an additional delivery of 4,000 disposable masks and 35,000 N95 masks for DVISD students, faculty, and staff.
CHILDREN FACING HUNGER
Hunger affects 1 in 5 children overall, and 1 in 7 children in Central Texas (before COVID-19), according to the Central Texas Food Bank.
Multiple studies and extensive research show that children who are hungry face challenges in school. The National School Lunch Program, a meal program in schools, addresses hunger during the week, but not during the weekend. According to Children’s Health Watch, children who don’t receive proper nourishment over the weekend do not start learning again until Wednesday. A new hunger cycle then begins on Friday for these children. FIT seeks to bridge the hunger gap between Friday and Monday. Studies indicate proper nutrition improves school attendance, health, and classroom behavior. Since the inception of FIT, school administrators have seen many of these benefits in the classroom.
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
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FIT IN THE NEWS
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