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Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation helps children combat hunger

Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation is expanding their Power Snack program aimed at reducing childhood hunger in Iowa by providing access to nutritious food at home. This 2018-19 school year, Power Snack will provide 23,267 children across 127 schools with 837,612 meals – a 23 percent increase from the 2017-18 school year.

“These coupons came at the perfect time,” said St. Ansgar’s Middle and High School Principal Lynn Baldus. “With Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks upon us, most kids are excited because they’re going to grandma’s house for a big meal, but the reality is we have a lot of kids sitting here thinking, ‘Okay, great. What am I going to eat on these days we don’t have school?’ I really worry about them, I do.”

Thanks to Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, just prior to Thanksgiving break, at-risk children in rural Iowa received a Power Snack kit containing a $5 coupon for deli ham and a $3 coupon for a loaf of whole wheat bread – the ingredients needed to make their own “power snacks” at home. 

Power Snack Teacher Kits hand-delivered into schools

Power Snack Teacher Kits were hand-delivered to teachers and school nurses by employees of Iowa Select Farms Nov. 6-19. Teacher kits contain program information and four packs of coupons for each child, intended for distribution to at-risk children right before Thanksgiving, winter, spring and summer breaks.

“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 the coupons and make their own snacks,” said Jen Sorenson, communications director of Iowa Select Farms. “Oftentimes parents are working on weekends and holidays. Something simple like a ham sandwich may be the difference in preventing kids from going hungry.”

As farmers and pork producers, Jeff and Deb Hansen, owners of Iowa Select Farms, are passionate about assisting hunger-relief efforts, particularly those directed towards children.

The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation furthered its commitment to Power Snack by increasing the number of children served by approximately 13,000 since 2012. As part of their ongoing commitment to rural Iowa, the Hansens continue to direct foundation efforts towards the communities where Iowa Select Farms and employees and contractors work and live.

Ham is lean,


“Kids love ham,” Sorenson said. “It’s easy to prepare, full of flavor and promotes growth and development. Combining the energy and carbohydrates of whole wheat bread with the protein of ham means the children will have made themselves a real power snack.”

According to the National Pork Board, pork loin, tenderloin and ham are excellent sources of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus and protein, and a good source of zinc and potassium. The USDA MyPlate guidelines recommend children eat up to six ounces of lean protein daily, depending on age and gender.

2018-19 participating schools included Afton – East Union Community Schools, Corning – Corning Elementary and Southwest Valley Middle and High School, Creston – Creston Community Elementary/Middle School, Diagonal – Diagonal Community Schools, Fontanelle – Nodaway Valley Community School District, Lenox – Lenox Community School District, Montezuma – Montezuma Community School District, Mount Ayr – Mount Ayr Community Schools, Murray – Murray Community Schools and Osceola – Clarke Community Schools.

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