Full Belly 5K feeds Shelby County children

Proceeds from the Full Belly 5K will support Alabama Childhood Food Solutions' mission to feed "food insecure" children in Shelby County. (Contributed)

Proceeds from the Full Belly 5K will support Alabama Childhood Food Solutions’ mission to feed “food insecure” children in Shelby County. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

MT LAUREL—How far would you go to help end childhood hunger? On Saturday, Feb. 28, a little more than three miles is all it will take in the Fully Belly 5K benefitting Alabama Childhood Food Solutions.

The 5K race will kick off in Mt Laurel at 8 a.m. and a one mile “fun run/walk” will follow at 9 a.m. Registration is $30 for the 5K and $20 for the fun run/walk and can be done online at Runsignup.com/Race/AL/BirminghamMtLaurel/FullBelly5K.

Those who wish to support the cause, but not participate in the running events may purchase a Full Belly 5K shirt for $12.50 or make a donation at the online registration site.

All proceeds from the Full Belly 5K will support ACFS, an entirely volunteer run organization that provides snacks and food for food insecure children in Shelby County and surrounding areas.

“After going on more than 25 short term mission trips (we learned) hunger was the same problem here in Alabama,” Jim Jones said. Jones and his wife, Linda, founded the organization in 2012.

ACFS provides bags of food to children identified by school counselors as food insecure, meaning they have “little to no food in the house,” Jones explained.

“In Shelby County, we know of over 600 children who may not have food when they go home,” Jones said. “Without an adequate diet, children just don’t thrive.”

ACFS packs around 1,300 bags of food, filled with a “mix of calories,” to keep children fed through the weekends, Jones explained.

Currently, ACFS provides food to Chelsea High School, Mt Laurel Elementary School and Vincent Elementary School, but Jones said the organization is looking to expand.

“There are at least 20 additional schools that we want to be helping with,” Jones said.

ACFS also operates a food pantry. Through an application process, families are selected once each month to “grocery shop” in the pantry, free of charge, ACFS volunteer Joe Fountain explained.

All of the money raised by the Feb. 28 Full Belly 5K will go to ACFS’s mission to feed children in Shelby County.

“It will go to feed kids in Shelby County, period,” Jones said, noting the money will have an immediate impact in the community.

For more information about ACFS, visit Alabamachildhoodfoodsolutions.com.