Emmetsburg Middle School Power Snack Delivery

posted on Thursday, January 4, 2018

“I don't think people truly understand what food insecurity looks like and how many local children are impacted by it on a daily basis,” said Tracie Christensen, Emmetsburg Middle School Principal. “It’s not something that is really talked about often because of the stigma or embarrassment that comes along with it, but we see children struggling in our school every single day.”

At Emmetsburg Middle School and the school district as a whole, there is a large population of students who come from food insecure households. In fact, 48 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch and a town rate of over 50 percent are considered food insecure. These numbers qualify Emmetsburg to hold a summer lunch program for students who may not otherwise have a steady source of food.

“There is a definite difference in students who come to school fed and well-rested versus those that are not,” Christensen explained. “Those that are not have obvious behavioral issues throughout the day. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for these students to focus on school when they are worried about their next meal.”

Often times, food insecure families struggle to purchase the more nutritious items in the grocery store due to higher price tags. The situation becomes even more difficult during extended holiday breaks, like the one most students are just now returning from, when children don’t have access to school breakfast and lunch programs. But the Power Snack Program, funded by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms, is helping change that.

Now in its fifth year, the Power Snack Program aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Iowa’s youth. Schools participating in the program receive enough coupons for their students to receive $5 coupons for shaved or sliced deli ham and $3 coupons for a loaf of whole wheat bread four times throughout the school year. During the 2017-2018 school year, more than 72,000 coupons will be distributed statewide to children in need. 320 of those coupons will directly support 40 children in Emmetsburg – a $1,280 investment in ending food insecurity at the local level.

“These coupons provide students with something they would not otherwise have access to and just increases the amount of quality food in their home,” Christensen raved. “They are easy for both children and parents to use and I’m excited to see the positive impact they have in our community.”