Lenox Community Schools Power Snack Delivery
“Our school is small enough that we have a very good relationship with these kids,” explained Jenn Miller, the school nurse at Lenox Community Schools. “We know these children and are able to identify who truly needs the help. Our teachers are very caring and go above and beyond to make sure no child goes hungry.”
At schools in small towns like Lenox, the teachers are more than just a friendly face in the hallway. They are extremely involved in their local communities as church leaders, sports coaches, volunteer emergency personnel and much more. To say that they know their communities and the families living in them well is an understatement.
“We have teachers and secretaries that dig into their own pockets regularly,” continued Miller. “Whether it’s them purchasing snacks or putting $20 in a child’s lunch account, they’re always keeping tabs on individual student’s needs.”
In addition to donating money into student’s accounts to either clear a negative balance or ensure they won’t go into the hole, the Lenox School District is able to offer students peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when necessary, send backpacks home with students that are full of healthy, perishable and non-perishable items on the weekends and now they’re able to offer them coupons for shaved ham and whole-wheat bread thanks to Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation’s Power Snack Program.
“We’re traveling the state this month to deliver 72,000 of these Power Snack coupon booklets,” explained Logan Sweers, an Outreach Specialist with Iowa Select Farms. “We rely on teachers and school staff to identify the students in need and then work directly with them to get enough materials for their students to receive them four times throughout the school year. They can distribute coupon booklets whenever they choose, but most do it before extended holiday breaks when students aren’t sure where their meals are going to come from.”
Included in the Power Snack Program booklets are a $5 coupon for a pound of sliced or shaved ham and a $3 coupon for a loaf of whole-wheat bread. The coupons can be redeemed at any local retailer and are designed to be extremely kid-friendly. More than 200 students will receive Power Snack coupon booklets this school year, which translates into roughly 4,800 ham sandwiches!
“We choose ham because it’s full of great nutrients like protein, zinc and iron which are all very important in both the physical and cognitive development of children,” explained Sweers. “We know that when kids are full they can stay focused on school, their assignments and even achieve higher test scores.”
“Our staff and students continue to work hard to attain higher student achievement score,” said Principal Derek Morris on the school’s webpage. “Percent of students proficient on the Iowa Assessment for third through sixth grade were as follows: reading 82%, math 93%, and science 90%. These are great scores and can be attributed to the students and staff putting forth a strong effort to achieve at a high level.”