Power Snack visits South Central Calhoun CSD
With Thanksgiving break right around the corner, many of us are in the midst of planning elaborate family dinners. But the unfortunate reality is that many families will not have the funds for a holiday feast, or perhaps a meal at all.
“Holidays and extended weekends can be tough on students,” said Allyson Ladd of Iowa Select Farms. “For many, the majority of their meals happen at school.”
Power Snack, a program of Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, aims to provide children access to nutritious food at home. Now in its sixth year, Power Snack supports nearly 24,000 children statewide, including several within Wright County.
“These coupons are going to a number of families experiencing difficult times,” said Nicole McChesney, Principal at South Central Calhoun Elementary in Rockwell City. “They will provide critical aid to our students and their families. It is a really great program that makes an impact where it matters most.”
Throughout the upcoming school year, students within the South Central Calhoun School District will receive Power Snack coupon booklets. Inside, students will find a $5 coupon for deli ham and a $3 coupon for a loaf of whole wheat bread. The coupons can be used at most local grocery and convenience stores.
“As farmers and pork producers, we are passionate about assisting hunger-relief efforts, particularly those directed towards children,” said Jen Sorenson, Communications Director of Iowa Select Farms. “As part of our ongoing commitment to rural Iowa, we have increased the number of children served through Power Snack by nearly 14,000 since 2012.”
The first round of coupons was distributed prior to the extended holiday break this past December – a time when it is especially difficult for food insecure children to eat well-balanced meals. Together with the two brightly colored coupons, children are able to make a nutritious and delicious snack that is full of protein. The best part? Power Snacks help keep children fuller, longer, meaning they will be able to stay focused in the classroom.
“The unfortunate reality is that a lot of our students are struggling with issues far beyond our grasp, even as adults,” explained McChesney. “We’ve had students that have lost their home in a house fire, welcomed additional family members into their household that needed a place to live, are considered low-income because a parent is ill or on bed rest for a high-risk pregnancy and can’t work and even some students that are placed in another family member's home due to their parent’s substance abuse." She continued, "These coupons are going to alleviate a lot of stress from their already very stressful, chaotic lives. It’s a great way to support families here in the South Central Calhoun School District.”
“Power Snack” is indicative of the larger purpose of the program—empower children in food insecure homes by teaching them how to get to the store, shop for nutritious food covered by our coupons and make their own snacks.
“We work with teachers, nurses, counselors and principals to distribute Power Snack coupon booklets at 127 different districts statewide,” explained Allyson. “The $5 deli ham and $3 whole wheat bread coupons are given out four times throughout the school year.”
425 within the South Central Calhoun District will receive Power Snack coupons—a contribution valued at $13,600 and enough resources to make 15,300 ham sandwiches.