Beginning in September, even more families struggling with food insecurity will find some relief with an expanded Ham Sandwiches for Kids program, made possible by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation at the Iowa State Fair last week, announcing expansion of the program. It is one of several ways the Hansen Foundation helps low-income families feed their children.
The program will provide $5 coupons, four times a year, for sliced or shaved ham to an additional 1,500 Iowa families in Central Iowa who have children participating in the Food Bank of Iowa's BackPack Program. The BackPack Program currently serves 4,500 children each week at 113 sites in 26 Iowa counties.
The total value of these coupons is $90,000. When combined to the $76,000 in coupons that will be distributed to families in northeast Iowa for the first time this fall, the total value of the program is $166,000. The Ham Sandwiches for Kids program is one of the many ways the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation supports hunger relief efforts in Iowa. Other programs include donating pork loins to rural pantries and public pork loin giveaways leading up to the holidays. In 2014 alone, the foundation will donate more than $360,000 to help relieve hunger in Iowa.
Program provides nutritious food for needy children
The BackPack Program provides child-friendly, easy-to-prepare nonperishable food items on weekends and during school breaks when students do not have access to the federal free and reduced price meal program.
"I appreciate the continued support and generosity of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation," says Carey Miller, executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa. "When there is a child in need, there is a family in need. This partnership provides children and their families with a nutrient-rich protein not always found in their homes."
According to USDA's MyPlate guidelines, children need up to 6 ounces of lean protein daily, depending on age and gender. Ham is included in the MyPlate as a nutrient-dense lean protein that promotes growth and development in today's youth.
Ham Sandwiches for Kids program began in 2012
"We are passionate about providing hunger relief, especially for children," says Jeff Hansen, CEO of Iowa Select Farms and co-founder of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. "We started our Ham Sandwiches for Kids program in 2012 and the number of children impacted has grown significantly each year. Since hunger relief is one of the major focuses of our foundation, we hope to eventually cover the entire state with this program to reduce childhood hunger no matter where you live in Iowa."
The program was promoted by Gov. Branstad at the 2014 Iowa State Fair and coincides with Hunger Action Month. Beginning Sept. 1, the Food Bank of Iowa and other food banks in the Feeding America network will kick off Hunger Action Month by holding a variety of events, sharing ideas and inspiring people to take action to help the millions of people who are food insecure in the United States.
About Food Bank of Iowa: The Food Bank of Iowa is a private, not-for-profit organization committed to its mission of alleviating hunger through food distribution, partnership and education. The Food Bank of Iowa solicits, receives, inventories and distributes donated food and grocery products to more than 375 partner agencies in 55 counties who directly serve needy individuals within their communities. In FY 2014, the Food Bank of Iowa distributed 10,921,355 pounds of food. To learn more visit the Food Bank of Iowa website.
About the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms: Deb and Jeff Hansen, who founded Iowa Select Farms and New Modern Concepts, established the foundation in 2006 to work with philanthropic organizations to relieve hunger, support military families and strengthen efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer while improving the quality of life for cancer patients. Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls, is the largest pork producer in Iowa. The firm has been producing high-quality pork for 20 years and is committed to meeting or exceeding all requirements in efforts to protect the environment and ensure proper care and well-being of swine.