September 26, 2018

FORT WORTH, Texas (September 26, 2018) – Diamond Hill Elementary School Assistant Principal Hilda Herrera recalled her days as a child in a poverty-challenged family and being hungry on the weekends away from school.

Now she witnesses the distressing issue for Diamond Hill’s student body of 660 children that all rely on the lunch assistance program. On Wednesday, Herrera shed some tears for the generosity of Food for the Soul that was a direct result of the school’s involvement in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover program.

Food for the Soul, a non-profit, faith-based organization based in Keller, became a partner of Speeding To Read this year with a goal of fighting childhood hunger at one of the program’s participating elementary schools for the 2018-19 school year.

Diamond Hill was selected as the recipient of Food for the Soul’s flagship Backpack Program and the non-profit teamed with Texas Motor Speedway today to deliver 660 drawstring backpacks carrying a total of 6,600 food items to the school.

“I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it,” Herrera said. “I had to step away for a minute because I literally started tearing up like I am now. I can’t explain the gratitude that I feel for our kids, you know, because not everybody has this blessing.”

The backpacks will be given to the students Friday to be used for the upcoming weekend. Food for the Soul has secured funding to take care of the entire school for five alternating weekends, but is hopeful of attracting more donors and provide to Diamond Hill for the entire school year.

Since 2009, the Food for the Soul Backpack Program has provided more than two million free meals and snacks to hungry children in North Texas communities through the generous donations of individuals, businesses, churches, canned food drives and a national grocery supplier.

“It hurt my heart that one out of four children are going to bed hungry … in my neighborhood or sometimes in 100 percent of the schools we go to,” Kimberly Sawler said. “People like myself didn’t know and now that we know we have to help.”

A $5 donation will feed a child for an entire weekend while $180 will feed a child for the entire academic school year. Food for the Soul will need to raise approximately $108,000 to care for all the students for the entire academic year with its Backpack program. For those individuals or businesses interested in helping fund the students of Diamond Hill, please visit under Food for the Soul’s “In the Community” tab.

“It’s five dollars a week and it can feed a child for an entire weekend,” Kimberly Sawler said. “It’s like you can give a lot for a latte – give up a coffee and feed a child for a weekend.”

Diamond Hill joined Speeding To Read in the 2017-18 school year and excelled in the free educational program. The school won a division title with 92 percent of its students meeting the year-long reading goals as well as having two individual reading world champions and world and conference champion classrooms.

“We are very honored not only to have the opportunity to help enrich the education of the students at Diamond Hill by encouraging them to read more frequently, but also partnering with Food for the Soul to ensure they don’t go hungry over the weekends,” said Texas Motor Speedway Vice President of Media Relations Mike Zizzo, who created the Speeding To Read program in 2011. “We appreciate the partnership of Food for the Soul and the impact they continue to make in our communities and now with one of our Speeding To Read schools.”

Entering its eighth year, Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M Powered by Fun 2 Discover has had 64 schools and 35,735 students participate and collectively read more than 5.2 million books. This year’s enrollment of 14 schools and 7,594 students increases the overall totals to 78 schools and 43,329 students.

Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover program is supported by the following partners: Fun 2 Discover, NASCAR, Verizon IndyCar Series, Lionel Racing, Speedway World, Levy Restaurants, The Speedway Club, Food for the Soul, aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, Jostens, Woolley’s Frozen Custard, Reunion Tower, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter and Team Texas High Performance Driving School.