Murray Schools Power Snack Delivery
“Introducing the students to foods they don’t normally have the option to have is the first step,” Page says. “We always make sure that we have fresh fruit and vegetables included in our school meals. We try to teach them that high protein keeps you full longer, and that is very important and is more accessible to our students now because of these coupons.”
At Murray Community Schools, the percentage of poverty is very high. Over half of the student population is on free and reduced lunch. Last week, school Principal Tara Page, Superintendent Alan Miller and Community School Board Secretary, Liz Justice, were all on hand to receive their Power Snack™ instructional Teacher Kits and 340 coupon booklets for local, food-insecure children in need.
“With this program any child can open up the package of shaved ham and a slice of bread and fix their own sandwich,” said Justice. “That’s what I like about the program. It’s simple and makes it so easy for kids to access these quality foods that they might not otherwise get.”
Because of the Power Snack™ program, 340 students at Murray Community Schools will receive four sets of envelopes stuffed with two coupons. One coupon is good for $5 worth of ham and the other is good for $3 off a loaf of whole wheat or whole grain bread. When combined, a Power Snack™ is created. The value of the Power Snack™ coupons received by Murray Community Schools exceed $10,000. Statewide, more than 82,000 coupons will be delivered to Iowa food-insecure children in need.
In addition to the Power Snack™ Program, the school district is very involved in their students’ lives and well-being. In fact, the school was one of the first to pilot a summer lunch program more than 20 years ago.
“We feed 50-75 kids almost every day during the summer,” said the school’s Principal, Tara Page. “Some days we reach over 100.” The summer program is set to run in conjunction with activities going on at the school such as baseball games and summer school. Justice says Page is great at pulling kids in and making sure everyone eats. But her reasoning isn’t just to make sure no one is hungry.
“I go outside and recruit kids to come inside and eat,” explained Page. “It doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re from. We know some kids don’t want to have a stigma around being hungry and needing help, so we all work together to include everyone so they’re all eating together, not just the students that need it most.”
During the school year students receive a lot of love and support from their teachers. Both Justice and Liz say when a student is well fed, they are not asking when lunch is. Instead, they are focused on what is happening in class. “We sometimes will give students snacks that we purchase out of our own pockets and deposit funds into their lunch and milk accounts,” Page says. “We want to make sure they are taken care of so that they can stay focused.”