About five years ago, Danielle Meyer was a teacher at Headstart, and her father decided to sponsor her classroom full of kids.

Danielle recognized that some of the kids in her class depended on the free meal they received during the school day, and wouldn't have that over the long holiday break. She said some of the parents of her students would feel the strain of having to buy extra food over the holidays, and she was looking for a way to help the situation.

Hence, the "belly bag."

Danielle began putting together bags of easily openable food for her students to take home, so they could have extra snacks and goodies to enjoy, which would keep their bellies full.

She estimates that she does about 140 of these each holiday season, and has handed out over 700 belly bags over the last few years.

She's currently collecting items for this year's bags, so if you'd like to help grab-and-go items are the best. Applesauce cups, granola bars, fruit cups, and fresh fruit are all great... anything kids don't need a parent's help to prepare. She also takes new socks, hats, and gloves. Cash donations are also accepted.

Danielle says if possible, she likes putting a few "warm" items in each bag. This includes Chef Boyardee cups, soup cups, and oatmeal packets, so each child has something warm to put in their belly on a cold day. (This is usually what she buys with the cash donations.)

Donations will be accepted through December 15th, when the bags will be assembled by Danielle's family before distribution. Deliveries happen on December 22nd, the last day of school before break. The Dubuque Police Department also comes out to help, and even hand out their 'police badge' stickers, which the kids seem to love!

Donations for Belly Bags
Donations for Belly Bags

If you'd like to donate you can reach out to Danielle directly at 563-451-9449 or you can check out the official BELLY BAGS FACEBOOK PAGE.



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