Power Snack visits St. Ansgar CSD

posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

“More times than we know, the only meals that students are eating are those they receive at school,” said Lynn Baldus, principal at St. Ansgar High School and Middle School. “Weekends and breaks are tough on these kids. It’s is very hard for kids to learn when they are hungry.”

In Iowa, 1 in 5 children do not have enough to eat. And although school-based food-assistance programs for children from low-income families greatly aid the learning process, children may still suffer from food insecurity on weekends and holiday breaks.

“It’s not unheard of for teachers to reach into their own pockets to make sure students don’t go hungry,” explained Scott Cakerice, Principal at St. Ansgar Elementary. “The teachers in our school have very giving souls. We care deeply about these kids.”

It’s school districts like St. Ansgar that inspire the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms to continue expanding hunger-relief efforts like Power Snack. In fact, this year alone the Foundation expanded the reach of the program by nearly 6,000 students. That’s right—more than 23,000 local Iowa students will be positively impacted by Power Snack throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

Since 2012, the Power Snack Program has provided students grades K-12 with coupons for a pound of shaved ham and a loaf of whole wheat bread—key ingredients for a nutritious, delicious ham sandwich Power Snack. The coupons are distributed by school administrators, teachers, counselors and paras who identify children that would benefit from the program.

“These coupons could not have come at a better time,” said Lynn. “With a break coming up most kids are excited because they’re going to grandma’s house for a big meal or something like that, but the reality is that we also have a lot of kids sitting here thinking, ‘Okay, great. What am I going to eat on these days we don’t have school?’ and I really worry about them, I do.”

Power Snack is designed to give students the materials they need to make their own nutritious snacks, and feel empowered to shop for those ingredients on their own. Students receive coupons four times throughout the school year, typically right before extended holiday breaks like Thanksgiving.

“I wind up seeing kids in my office before breaks for behavioral issues,” Baldus explained. “But when we get to the root of the problem we realize these kids are just so anxious, there is a panic they feel with school breaks. That’s why these coupons are so awesome of our kids. They will give them a sense of security knowing they will have something to eat when school is not in session.”

Power Snack supports 44 students at St. Ansgar Elementary, Middle and High School—a contribution valued at $1,408.