Dripping with Hope has provided 24,300 meals to food-insecure students in Dripping Springs ISD in the past six months, according to DSISD officials.

The program began in November 2022 as a partnership with nonprofit Ancora Ministries and DSISD.

Students are sent home over the weekends with backpacks containing five meals and snacks. The meals are easy to prepare and are aimed at filling the gap in nutrition between Friday afternoons and Monday mornings, according to Ancora Ministries.

Students in the program are identified by teachers and counselors.

"Empowering teachers to say, 'I have a kid who needs food,' means that we can react within a week—if not that same week—and get that kid into the weekly program," said Trey Williams, founder and executive director of Ancora Ministries.

Students are only provided with these meals during the school year, including summer school. Since students are identified by teachers, Dripping with Hope doesn't collect any information on them, thus making it difficult to feed them outside of the academic year.

"This is not ideal, of course, because these kids are already losing access to food during summer," Williams said. "They eat free breakfast and lunch at school, so summer is already a more challenging time for them."

In Texas, about 65% of school-aged children in public schools are economically disadvantaged, with nearly 50% in Hays County under this classification, according to Ancora Ministries and a 2022 demographic study by Population and Survey Analysts.

Over 8% of DSISD students were classified as economically disadvantaged in 2022 by PASA, equating to about 665 of the enrolled 8,000 students.

Dripping with Hope is one of Ancora Ministries’ two Hays County food security programs—with HaysHope2Go serving Hays County ISD in Kyle and Buda—founded by Williams and Esperanza Orosco in 2019. Ancora Ministries is also set to launch a similar program at Zavala Elementary in Austin ISD in the fall.

"As we go into the next school year, I think we may be able to identify some kids who might have flown under the radar last year, simply because teachers and counselors will be on the lookout for them in the first few weeks of the year," Williams said. "And of course, we can add children as they are identified at any point in the school year."

For more information on Dripping with Hope, visit www.ancoraministries.org.