SAN MARCOS, TX
– Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) recently partnered with the San Marcos First Baptist Church (FBC) on its School Fuel Program, which strives to feed at-risk elementary school children on weekends when food services are not available.
According to FBC Pastor’s Wife Aureila Newton, School Fuel started when a group of church members were looking to launch a project to help community members in need.
“Children usually pull on the heart strings of caring adults and people who really want to help someone,” Newton said.
Currently, 171 children at Mendez Elementary School and 31 kids at DeZavala Elementary School take home a brown bag filled with two breakfasts, two lunches and five snacks to feed them throughout the weekend, a time when they may not have another opportunity to eat. After receiving parental consent, the food-filled bags are discreetly placed in the kids’ backpacks every Friday while students are away from the classroom, preventing the feeling of shame or being singled out.
The two schools were identified by San Marcos CISD’s superintendent as having the most need, but Newton said she hopes to see School Fuel expand to all six local elementary schools, then to the middle schools and high school.
CTMC is providing the pre-printed School Fuel bags and 10 volunteers a week to help assemble the bags.
“We are grateful to CTMC for the willingness to assist,” Newton said. “We are trying to make this a community-wide effort. Just $210 will feed one child for 35 weekends … that’s $18 per month.”
The program was launched in March, providing bags of food to 31 students at Mendez Elementary school through the last 12 weeks of school. During this time, the kids’ reading levels increased an average of 2.2 points, and their math levels shot up 8.4 points. (Three of the students had an increase of more than 20 points in math).
When questioned by school counselors, the same group of students reported that they were able to get up easier in the morning, run better during P.E. class because of increased energy levels and concentrate more effortlessly during class.
In addition to the School Fuel program, Live Oak Health Partners (LOHP), CTMC’s multi-specialty physicians group, recently opened a pilot program clinic at Hernandez Elementary to serve the school’s students, faculty and staff. The clinic, which is open three afternoons per week and staffed by a LOHP nurse practitioner, provides care for minor health issues such as: colds, flu, respiratory issues; muscle/joint injuries and sprains; skin, hair, and nail conditions; and urinary tract infections.
Other partners on the School Fuel project include Frost Bank, Texas State Optical, St. Mark’s Church, First Lutheran Church, Grace Lutheran Church, Wells Fargo, Pioneer Bank, State Farm Insurance and individual donors.
Those interested in donating to School Fuel or volunteering to stuff bags should e-mail email@example.com. The community is encouraged to spread the word by “liking” and sharing the group’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/SchoolFuelSanMarcos.
The hospital, which originated in 1923 as Hays County Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Memorial Hospital, was restructured in 1960. The present facility was opened at its current Wonder World Drive location in 1983. The CTMC staff of more than 700 employees works with more than 220 active and consulting physicians to provide quality services to patients and their families.
In addition, over 200 community members and interns from area educational institutions volunteer their services to the hospital. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, CTMC was named The Best Hospital in Hays County. CTMC also added a certified Chest Pain Center to its ER capabilities in 2011. In 2012, CTMC became the first operating room along the IH-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio to be equipped with a da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery suite.
CTMC is a member of the Adventist Health System (AHS), a not-for-profit healthcare organization that emphasizes Christ at the center of care. Founded in 1973, AHS has quickly grown to become the largest not-for-profit Protestant healthcare provider in the nation. Today, AHS supports 43 hospitals and employs 55,000 individuals. AHS hospitals are comprised of 7,700 licensed beds, providing care for 4 million patients each year in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits.