St. Ansgar Elementary and High School Power Snack Deliveries
“The teachers in our school are very giving souls,” said Scott Cakerice, Principal at St. Ansgar Elementary. “They’re here because they care deeply about these kids. The things we see sometimes; you wish you didn’t hear or see happening. Our teachers do everything that they can to help these students out.”
For a lot of teachers throughout Iowa, this is a mutual feeling. It isn’t easy taking a backseat when they see students come to school hungry.
“It’s not unheard of for teachers to reach into their own pockets to make sure students don’t go hungry,” explained Cakerice. “Like I said, they are doing everything that they can to help these students out and see them succeed.”
It’s schools like St. Ansgar Elementary that inspire the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms to continue expanding hunger-relief efforts like the Power Snack Program throughout the state of Iowa. In fact, this year alone the Foundation expanded the reach of the program by 10,000 students. That’s right – more than 18,000 local Iowa students will be positively impacted by the Power Snack Program in the 2017-2018 school year.
Since 2012, the Power Snack Program has provided students grades K-6 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. In 2017 students in grades 6-12 were added to the program.
“These coupons could not have come at a better time,” said St. Ansgar 6-12 Principal, Lynn Baldus. “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.”
The Power Snack Program 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.
“As a family-owned pork production business it just makes sense for one of the Foundation’s main efforts to be hunger relief in the state of Iowa,” explained Logan Sweers, an Outreach Specialist for Iowa Select Farms. “We do everything we can to combat hunger at the local level. The Power Snack Program is just another way we’re taking a stance against food insecurity.”
Started in 2006 as a result of conversations with employees that were extremely engaged in their communities, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation operates unique programs and projects that provide hunger relief to struggling Iowa families, shows gratitude to members of the Armed Services and strengthens efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer while improving the quality of life for impacted families.
The Power Snack Program supports 32 students at St. Ansgar Elementary, Middle and High School – a contribution valued at $1,024.
“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.”