Spotlight On Charity :: Belly Buddies

Spotlight On Charity :: Belly BuddiesSpotlight On Charity :: Belly Buddies

In elementary and middle school, our classes always had some community service project for the semester. Looking back, I am so thankful that I was able to learn the value of serving our community and taught to have a charitable spirit. I wanted the same for my kids. And into our lives came Belly Buddies.

One day, my kids came home with their weekly folder of graded papers and community flyers, and there was a flyer asking for donations of non-perishable food items for the program called “Belly Buddies.” I would add a few extra things to my grocery cart each week, and the kids would take the donations to school. Then came permission slips for my children to travel to a local school to distribute the bags of food. I was so grateful that my kids had a similar childhood experience with community service. Still, I was also a little embarrassed by how clueless I was about the needs of my community.

According to Feeding Louisiana (, 683,110 people in Louisiana live with food insecurity. Of that number, 234,120 are children.

After witnessing food insecurity in her classroom over nine years ago, Katie Richard started Belly Buddies with her husband, Brad, her mother and fellow teacher, Tammy Stanford, and friend and fellow teacher, Jennifer Fontenot. The inspiration began while Katie was teaching in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, where every student was a part of the free or reduced lunch program. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank partnered with all elementary schools to provide each student with a backpack full of food for the weekend. When Katie and Brad moved from Baton Rouge to their hometown, Eunice, Katie accepted a teaching position at Glendale Elementary. While teaching Pre-K, she noticed the same signs of food insecurity in her current students as in her previous school district. From that observation, Belly Buddies was created and nomination forms were drafted. Teachers could nominate students for the Belly Buddies program. From there, permission slips went home with the selected students, and students and their families received the program positively.

From the start of the program each week, on Friday, Belly Buddies helps elementary school children have food to carry home in their backpacks for the weekend.

Food items include canned ravioli, pasta, fruit, breakfast bars, cereal, and other non-perishable items—this kid-friendly food is easy for kids to handle, with no cooking required. The Belly Bags cover meals that will last through the weekend.

Katie now teaches at a private school, and the students help pack Belly Bags and deliver them to a local elementary school. The children get to visit and pray with each other. It provides a shift in perspective for all of the kids – sometimes, people in need are just like me, and sometimes, people who can help are just like me. In 2019, there were twenty students each who received Belly Bags at Glendale Elementary. That number has grown to fifty-five students weekly. Katie and Brad do not want to stop there. With the St. Landry Parish School system also having a one hundred percent free or reduced lunch rate for students in their district, the need goes beyond just Glendale Elementary.

In 2022, Belly Buddies became a 501c3 non-profit organization, making all donations to their program tax-deductible and allowing even more opportunity for the founder’s dreams of expanding this service to more schools and more children in the parish and beyond.

Spotlight On Charity :: Belly Buddies

Belly Buddies is hosting a Color Run on April 13th as part of their fundraising efforts. Your registration fee of $25 is enough to get a t-shirt, color for the run, and feed a student for a month! Registration closes on March 16th! (Follow this link to register)

I recently had the opportunity to visit Glendale Elementary on a Belly Bag delivery day. I can confidently say that Katie Richard puts her entire being into the Belly Buddies program. The joy was palpable, and as I sat back to soak it all in, I said a prayer of thanks. I am so thankful that people like Katie and Brad exist and work to make a difference in their communities. I am grateful that programs like Belly Buddies help working families provide food for their children without shame. And I would be extra thankful if you would join me in supporting Belly Buddies’s mission because assisting a child creates a better future for everyone.  For more information or to make a donation, visit

Mallory Moser
Mallory, a Louisiana native born in Opelousas, spent most of her childhood years in the surroundings of Carencro. She and her husband met in Eunice, and together they embarked on a journey guided by her husband's Marine Corps service. San Diego, California, became their cherished home, where they raised their three children before life led them back to Louisiana in 2019. Mallory has navigated the legal realm for the last fifteen years. Her path took an exciting turn recently as she embraced the broadcasting world over the previous four years. On the weekends, Mallory finds solace in the pages of books - usually reading Neil Gaiman or her book club's chosen book of the month. She cherishes moments spent walking the family dogs and embarking on bike rides with her kids and husband.