Feeding Empty Little Tummies is dedicated to feeding Manatee County’s most needy – homeless and food insecure students – one backpack at a time!

Approximately 85,000 people are homeless throughout Florida. Manatee County is home to approximately 3,500 homeless – many of these children. In 2010 Jane L Evers introduced Feeding Empty Little Tummies to three Manatee County public schools.  Today, Jane’s vision to provide nutritious meals to homeless students is still being fulfilled by our dedicated board, volunteers and community leaders who service 32 schools and over 800 homeless children.

Each child in the F.E.L.T. backpack program is pre-qualified by Project Heart.

Project Heart is the Manatee School District’s Title X Homeless Education Program, providing education related support services for students who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  Project Heart comes under the McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act. The defined qualifications are:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to the loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children or youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Children or youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Children awaiting permanent Foster Care


That bag might seem small but made a big difference for us.

“Just wanted to thank you so much for all the effort you put in to making our kids smile with these bags of food. I honestly know how these bags help our kids.

Two years ago you put a smile on my daughter’s face and on mine when we arrived from Puerto Rico and living in a truck. That bag might seem small but made a big difference for us.”

Carmen Torres
W.D. Sugg Middle School

These Challenging Times

Thank you Jessica and everyone at Feeding Empty Little Tummies for all the amazing work you all have done this school year. Especially your astounding response during these challenging times with Covid-19. Our Blackburn community is in awe of all your generosity. Please enjoy a most deserved rest time. We will hopefully see you again next school year. Be safe and stay well!

Ivelisse Sánchez
Attendance/Graduation Enhancement Tech, Project Heart H.E.R.O. & Business Partner Coordinator

Security, comfort and peace of mind

In my six years of teaching, I have seen students who have trouble focusing in class because their stomachs hurt from lack of food. I have seen students who try to sneak milk in their backpacks to give to their baby brother or sister. These students are not able to grow academically because while at school they are focusing on how their family is going to eat later that night. Learning is hard enough without any other distractions. F.E.L.T. is a wonderful organization because they provide more than just food for the weekends; they provide security, comfort, and peace of mind to a family each and every week.

Courtney Robinson
Virgil Mills Elementary
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