“Food insecurity is prevalent in our community whether we realize it or not,” said Betsy Schoelerman, an Ag and Family Consumer Science teacher and FFA Advisor at Clay Central-Everly Jr. Sr. High School. “Some students hide it well. They dress nice, are clean and have smartphones. But the reality is that nearly half of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch.”
At Clay-Central Everly Community Schools, 43% of students qualify for food-assistance lunch programs. For Schoelerman and other teachers at school, it can be tough to look around and see so many students struggling with food insecurity.
“It’s such a sad thing because the situation is almost always out of the child’s control,” continued Schoelerman. “It’s difficult to imagine how a parent could find money for a smartphone but not food. The reality is that kids don’t control the spending in their household.”
Power Snack, a program of Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, aims to reduce childhood hunger by providing access to nutritious food.
Four times throughout the school year, 60 eligible students at Clay Central-Every will receive a $5 coupon for deli ham and a $3 coupon for a loaf of whole wheat bread—a contribution valued at $1,920 and enough supplies to make 2,160 ham sandwiches.
“The coupons enable our students and their families to stretch their food dollars a little further during the holidays and extended breaks from school,” said Schoelerman. “It’s important that everyone has access to wholesome, nutritious meals and these coupons help make that possible.”