Pork Producer Empowers Young Superheroes to Combat Hunger

Allyson Ladd with Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation delivers PowerSnack Teacher kits to South Side Elementary secretary Jodi Wohlford. ( Iowa Select Farms )

Food-insecure children across Iowa received pork sticks in addition to existing Power Snack coupons for deli ham and whole wheat bread in November from Iowa Select Farms and The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation.

In an attempt to help reduce childhood hunger in Iowa, Foundation volunteers and Iowa Select Farms employees distributed 10,000 pork sticks and coupons for 1 million ham sandwiches to 22,571 children at 125 schools between November 11 and 26.

“We are excited about the addition of Pork Sticks because they’ll serve as an immediate, nutritious resource for kids,” said Jen Sorenson, Communications Director of Iowa Select Farms in a company release. “They pack a powerful protein punch and can help students curb hunger and focus on learning.” 

In Iowa, 1 in 5 children are considered food insecure. Scott Jeske, principal at Robert Blue Middle School in Eagle Grove, Iowa, said weekends and extended holiday breaks are especially challenging on kids who regularly eat breakfast and lunch at school. 

“Being well-nourished is a basic need that has to be filled before students can start learning,” Jeske said in the release. “We see a difference in students that come to school hungry versus those that don’t, and Power Snack continues to be a great asset for our kids.” 

The Power Snack teacher kits contain 80 pork sticks and four Power Snack booklets for each child 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. 

Why ham? 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. Depending on age and gender, the USDA MyPlate guidelines recommend children eat up to six ounces of lean protein daily.

“Kids love ham,” Sorenson said in the release. “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.”

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