Nashua-Plainfield Community Schools Power Snack Delivery
“It’s not uncommon for students to come to school unfocused and agitated. The only thing they can focus on is their hunger,” said Megan Smith, Nurse at Nashua-Plainfield Community Schools. “The reality is that food insecurity is a significant problem many of our students are facing.”
When an individual or family is considered food-insecure, it means they are not able to access the nutritious foods required for a wholesome, well-balanced diet. Oftentimes, food-insecure households are not able to purchase these nutritious foods because of their higher price tags, resulting in the purchase of cheap, over-processed foods instead.
“Unfortunately the foods that are rich in protein, like meat, are the most expensive yet are the most important ones in terms of physical and cognitive growth in children,” explained Smith. “This program provides the means for food-insecure children across Iowa, not just those in our school, to include ham and whole grains into their diets.”
At Nashua-Plainfield Community Schools, 150 students are on free lunch and 45 students are on reduced lunch. PowerSnack, a program funded by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms, supports many of these students by providing $3 coupons for a loaf of whole wheat bread and $5 coupons for a pound of shaved or sliced deli ham. Each student enrolled in PowerSnack will receive four sets of the coupons, distributed at different times throughout the school year to ease the burden of worrying about food when a student is not in school.
And with spring break coming up next week, the coupons couldn’t have been distributed at a better time.
“The PowerSnack coupons will allow our food-insecure families the opportunity to purchase foods they might not have otherwise been able to,” Smith explained. “Our school provides backpacks with food donated from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, and these coupons will be an enormous addition to the food they already receive.”
Like many of the other schools we have visited, students at Nashua-Plainfield Community Schools find support from their teachers. When a student is hungry, teachers are there to provide snacks, oftentimes purchased with their own money. Teachers strive to have all students focused, which means all students should have full stomachs.
“If a student comes to us and is hungry, we always provide a snack,” Smith said. “We do our best to make sure all of our students’ needs are met so they can perform at their best during class time.”