Northeast Hamilton Elementary School Power Snack Delivery
“Food insecurity in children often derives from a lack of exposure to new foods and healthier choices,” said Cindi Sweedler, the school nurse at Northeast Hamilton Elementary School. “More often than not, food insecure children do not receive meals prepared from scratch, instead they receive processed foods or meals from a fast food chain. Economic restraints also contribute to the food offerings given to children.”
Food insecure households are not able to provide nutritious foods to children often because of the higher cost of groceries that contain more vitamins, protein and other nutrients that are important in physical and cognitive development. This means children are not staying full and focused when they leave home for the day to go to school. In fact, majority of food insecure students receive their most well-balanced meal at school, which poses worry and stress within the student when extended breaks roll around.
“Our hot lunches provide a balance in the major food groups that students might not receive at home,” said school Principal Mike Kruger. “When we have a hungry student, we try to find out the reason. If breakfast is not offered at home, we make it a point to get them food before the start of the school day. Breakfast is offered to all students. It’s crucial that students start their days with a balanced meal if we want them to stay focused in the classroom.”
The Power Snack Program, organized and funded by Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, works toward ending food insecurity in children at the local level by providing students with $5 coupons for shaved or sliced ham and $3 coupons for a loaf of whole wheat bread. The Power Snack Program is supporting 33 students at Northeast Hamilton Elementary School.
Included with each bundle of coupons is a booklet filled with easy and delicious recipes for students to try. They can take the booklet with them to the grocery store or have their parents help pick up a few more items to make scrambled eggs and ham, ham and cheese wraps and more.
“The Power Snack Coupons will help myself and other teachers provide students with the materials they need to make their own snacks,” Sweedler explained. “The coupons will also give the student’s family the means to provide healthier and more options for their family nutrition.”