No Tummies Left Behind

KEYC News Now at 10 Recording
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:18 PM CST
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FARIBAULT, Minn. (KEYC) - When she was only 10 years old, a Fairbault elementary student started a local charity to help students, with insufficient funds, pay for school meals.

11-year-old Ella Bettner continues to donate thousands of dollars to local school districts, proving that you can start making a difference in your community at any age. She wants all students to thrive at school, and that starts with a full stomach.

“Usually, I’m really a shy person and I’m not really good to speaking up. But, as I came to the booth and my mom helped me more, I kind of got used to it,” said Bettner, the 11-year-old creator of “No Tummies Left Behind”.

When she was only ten years old, Faribault resident Ella Bettner saw a need in her community, and took it upon herself to fulfill that need. Starting in October 2021, Bettner created her charity organization “No Tummies Left Behind” to raise money for local public schools and help students with negative lunch balances, which allowed children to have a full meal and focus on their education more than their empty stomach.

“It was a bigger problem at my school. I saw that kids couldn’t get seconds and that they couldn’t really pay for their lunches and I wanted to help with that,” explained Bettner.

“I just think at her age, her willingness to step up and her willingness to get involved just speaks volumes about her,” said Jamie Bente, Faribault Public Schools Superintendent.

So far, Bettner has raised more than $8,000 for three different school districts in the Faribault area.

Bente said that Bettner’s donations continue to close the gap of overdrawn or empty school lunch accounts in the district.

“Her desire and her ability to step up and say, ‘I’m gonna take this upon myself,’ it really gives us all hope that that there are good people out there doing good things. What an absolutely wonderful young lady, and her parents are amazing as well,” praised Bente.

To raise money, Bettner creates and sells homemade charm bracelets: a hobby she finds the most joy in.

She also hosts fundraisers with local restaurants, which is one of her favorite activities.

“We got to go there and bus tables, and then we just get tips from it, and we sometimes we get pizza. And I get to work with my friends,” explained Bettner.

Bettner wants her mission to expand farther, going as far as supporting state legislation for universal school meals and aiming towards ending nation-wide food insecurity. She would like No Tummies Left Behind to become a nonprofit organization.

“I’m really happy that it helps a lot more kids, and we’ve sold a lot more bracelets,” said Bettner.

You can learn more about No Tummies Left Behind here.