LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - What started as a hope and a prayer has grown into a mission for a group of Livingston parish parents dubbed the Mighty Moms.
"We feed families that don't have enough to eat on a regular basis," explained Mighty Moms founder Dawn Birdsong.
While free meal programs provided by many schools help hungry kids get through the week the moms- and dads- of Mighty Moms found there was a gap on the weekends. Five years ago, the Full Tummy Project was born.
"Full Tummy is a bag that gets sent home on Fridays. It consists of breakfast, lunch and dinner for Saturday and Sunday, dinner Friday and breakfast Monday," said project coordinator Kevin Acord. Guidance counselors at most of the Livingston Parish schools identify kids who may be struggling, and refer them to Might Moms. The group take care of the rest through a team of coordinated volunteers who collect meals, bag them and deliver them to the schools each Friday.
Right now, Mighty Moms is feeding more than 500 kids a week. That adds up to about $10,000 dollars in groceries each month. The program also has a mobile pantry to help families when school is out.
The group depends on donations of food and money to keep the shelves stocked. Birdsong hopes to one day find a corporate sponsor who can provide support year round.
That's not all Birdsong is aiming for. Her dream is to take their program on the road with a food truck, and provide hot meals during the week throughout the parish. The group has been carefully saving up money with a goal of buying in the future.
"We're trusting God. I believe that this was a dream that God gave us and a vision that he gave me in the very beginning," said Birdsong.
However, the need to keep tummies full only grows. Some statistics estimate that one in four kids are food insecure. Birdsong says if that holds true locally, the 500 kids they feed barely scratches the surface. That's why she hopes their mission will grow and spread.
"We don't know the story, we don't know the reasons why. The fact remains, they don't have enough to feed their families," said Birdsong. "I pray that someone gives me grace when I need it, so I will always do the same."
At the moment, Mighty Moms only serves families in Livingston Parish. If a family is interested in getting help, they can contact their school guidance counselor.
If you want to get involved or volunteer, go to http://www.mightymomsgo.org/.