Power Snack visits Alta-Aurelia CSD

posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

“When all students focus on is their next meal, or if they will even have a meal, it is hard for them to be attentive in the classroom and meeting grade level expectations,” said Barb Huseman, counselor at the Alta-Aurelia Middle School. “Even though they may be present, it seems something is always weighing on them.”

According to the Food Bank of Iowa, food insecurity affects 1 in 5 Iowa children. Simply put, when a child is considered food-insecure it means they do not have enough to eat.

While existing school-based food-assistance programs greatly aid the learning process, many students in the Alta-Aurelia School District and statewide are still left without food on weekends or extended holiday breaks.

“It is not uncommon to see students’ anxiety levels go up on Fridays due to their concern for structured meals over the weekend,” Barb explained. “When they come back on Monday their faces may be sullen or tired due to lack of nutritional needs and healthy snacks.”

Since 2007, Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation have been passionate about assisting hunger relief efforts in rural Iowa, particularly those directed towards children. Our program, Power Snack, reduces childhood hunger by providing access to nutritious food at home.

“Power Snack provides students with coupons for deli ham and whole wheat bread,” said Jen Sorenson, communications director at Iowa Select Farms. “The goal of the program is to empower children in food insecure homes by teaching them how to get to the store, shop for nutritious food covered by the coupons and make their own power snacks.”

With support from teachers, principals and counselors like Barb, nearly 100,000 Power Snack coupon booklets will be delivered statewide during the 2018-2019 school year—enough to make 837,612 meals.

“What excites me most about this program is knowing that many of our students will be more food secure,” said Barb. “Anything we can do to help them out and teach healthy eating habits is appreciated.”

She plans to distribute coupons discreetly based on free and reduced lunch lists, and also with teacher recommendations.

“These coupons are great because they make it so easy for our students to go to the store and get ham and whole wheat bread,” said Barb. “But the recipe ideas are great too for anyone wanting something other than a ham sandwich.”

In total, 200 Power Snacks were delivered for the Alta-Aurelia School District—a contribution valued at $1,600.