The Hearts F.E.L.T. (Hearts Feeding Empty Little Tummies) Program was formed, when the Ladies of Charity at St Anthony of Padua in North Beach, MD was asked if they could provide school children with extra food for the weekend. There was no hesitation by the Ladies of St. Anthony to put a plan together and act.  Working with a local elementary school, the Ladies are sending home backpacks full of food for eleven children each week.  Volunteers gather every Tuesday evening to fill the backpacks.  The backpacks are delivered to the school on Thursday.  The empty backpacks are picked up on Monday and the cycle begins anew for the following week.

In mid-September of the 2015/2016 school year, the program began; and, it will continue until the last week of school in June.  So that the children can continue to benefit from the Hearts F.E.L.T. Program, the Ladies of St. Anthony are working with the school guidance counselor to determine if it will be possible to carry over the program through the summer months.

Each backpack contains two breakfasts of cereal, milk and cups of fruit. There are two lunches with crackers and small cups of peanut butter, a single serving of tuna and soup.  Also in the pack are three dinners, which include a seven ounce canned meal like lasagna or beef stew and cups of vegetables.  Two juices and seven snacks complete the backpacks.

All food items are single servings and pre-packaged. There is a weight limit of six pounds for pre-K through second grade.  It increases to ten pounds for third through fifth grade.  Bonus food items, such as a large jar of peanut butter and jelly or a box of macaroni and cheese with a six ounce can of tuna or chicken are added to the backpacks for the older children to share with their family.

The food is purchased from the Maryland Food Bank or donated by neighboring Catholic Schools and the PTA of the school being served. The children enjoy the selection and quantity of food and their parents are very grateful for the support given to them through the Hearts F.E.L.T. Program.   The Ladies of Charity are so grateful for the dedicated volunteers who give of their time and donate food to this much needed program.  May God Bless them all!