Bay Area organization provides meals to thousands of hungry children in Pinellas County

A Bay Area organization is making sure students who receive free school breakfast and lunch don’t go hungry on the weekends.

Students at Lealman Avenue Elementary School deliver meals to their classmates as part of the Beth Dillinger Foundation's "Nourish to Flourish" program, which gives children a packet of food to take home over the weekend. 

"Teachers were coming to us saying their children were dull on Monday morning because they didn't have any food over the weekend," stated Bob Dillinger of the Beth Dillinger Foundation.  "And then I heard the number 7,000. At first, I thought that was in the state of Florida. Then they said, ‘No, no, no, that's just Pinellas County’. And I said, ‘That's just not right. We've got to do something about that.’" 

What they did was amazing. The organization has provided more than 300,000 meals for children in 10 years. 

Students unload boxes of food to help feed hungry children in Pinellas County. 

"It's a good feeling for the kids. Yet, it's still frustrating that we still have to feed hungry children in Pinellas County, and we can't do it all. We need to feed all these children and it's just not elementary school children. There's hunger and middle schools and high schools," Dillinger explained. 

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For school administrators, the lifeline is making a huge impact in the lives of families. 

"Many of our families are homeless. They do live in hotels, motels," said Cynthia Bryant, school social worker. "They may not have a kitchenette. They may not have places to eat. So this is going to be a big help for them to provide them their snacks." 

The Beth Dillinger Foundation gives students food to take home over the weekend so they won't go hungry when they aren't at school.

The Beth Dillinger Foundation gives students food to take home over the weekend so they won't go hungry when they aren't at school. 

The effort wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for private companies. One law firm has given more than $200,000. 

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"Ours was very committed to wanting to do something about that. And so every year we wanted to try to make it better for children that they don't go home hungry on the weekends," stated Tom Wadley, of Yanchuck, Berman, Wadley and Thomas Law Firm.  

A community coming together to help give the proper nutrition for the growth and development of children. The Beth Dillinger Foundation was created in 2007 by Bob and Kay Dillinger in memory of their beloved daughter, Beth. 

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