During the spring of 2018, the Langdon Area School District (LASD) wellness committee discussed during their meeting how to bring healthy snack options to the students after-school whether they were riding the bus home, going to their after-school job or staying for activities and practices. FCCLA advisor Amy Kram also serves on the LASD wellness committee and saw an opportunity for her student organization to lend a hand in the form of a snack shop.
By Melissa Anderson
“Each school district is required to have a local wellness policy to help guide the district’s efforts to establish a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being and ability to learn. I serve on the wellness committee and ‘volunteered’ our FCCLA chapter for a trial period. The Snack Shop was very successful , both in terms of student support and financially during the fall last year, so we have continued with it,” Kram explained.
To prepare for the trial period during the fall of 2018, Kram spent a considerable amount of time during the summer learning the Smart Snack guidelines. She would use the Smart Snack online calculator during trips to Costco and Sam’s Club, looking up foods online, checking nutrition labels, and ingredient lists.
“I get some puzzled looks from people when I am on a snack shop run,” quipped Kram.
The physical set-up of The Snack Shop was relatively easy – LASD Superintendent Daren Christianson offered the use of the concession stand for them. Linda Hope gave the shop some cabinet storage within the concession stand along with the lunch program providing some storage in the receiving room. A group of FCCLA members, who are great about stopping in to re-stock the displays, wash and bag fruits and vegetables, stay to help after-school.
“We are not open when there is a home game in the gym, so we move our displays when necessary,” Kram said.
The Snack Shop is required to follow the USDA’s Smart Snacks guidelines which meet some general nutrition standards:
• Be a grain product that contains 50% or more whole grains by weight (has whole grain as first ingredient)
• Have as the first ingredient a fruit, vegetable, dairy product or protein food.
• Be a combination food that contains at least 1/4 cup fruit and/or vegetable.
• Meet specific nutrient standards for calories, sodium, sugar, and fats.
An additional restriction was put in place by the school itself as LASD is a peanut and nut free school this year. FCCLA and Kram had to make sure that all of the provided snacks comply with those guidelines as well.
“All of our items are $1 or less. We sell bottled water, 100% fruit juice; Powerade Zero/g2 or Gatorade Zero; fresh fruits and vegetables (grapes are our biggest seller); whole-grain baked chips, goldfish crackers, rice krispie bars; low-fat string cheese and go-gurt tubes; and dried fruit,” Kram shared.
Kram purchases some of the items found in the shop locally at Leevers, while some are ordered through US Foods and Coca-Cola. There are also some items that can only be picked up at Sam’s Club when Kram makes the trip out of town.
“I have even sold excess produce from our own garden at times,” Kram said.
Throughout last year, students were asked to complete a survey on foods that they would like to see in The Snack Shop. Kram and her FCCLA members also, just through trial and error, found snacks that students wanted – if they didn’t sell well, they didn’t make the cut.
At the national level, FCCLA has a program called Student Body which is a peer education program dedicated to helping young people learn to eat right, be fit and make healthy choices. The Snack Shop is a natural fit with this program. Having the snack shop not only benefits the student body of LASD with promotion of healthy snacks, but the FCCLA members who operate it reach the goals of the Student Body program.
“They are teaching and learning how to make informed, responsible decisions about their health, providing youth opportunities to teach others, and developing healthy lifestyles – through choosing the snacks and in conversations with students while working The Snack Shop. In addition, they are developing communication and leadership skills – reinforcing the soft skills that students are learning every day in Family and Consumer Science classes,” Kram explained.
The Snack Shop is a natural fit with this program and the general nutrition education Family and Consumer Science classes provide. Having the shop also gives the FCCLA group a way to raise funds to support their state FCCLA service project, Children’s Miracle Network and Ronald McDonald House. In addition, it helps the group support some local service projects as well, making it a truly perfect endeavor for the LASD FCCLA.
“The students have been very supportive of The Snack Shop! We typically have 20-30 students purchasing snacks daily, most who are our student athletes picking up snacks before practice,” Kram said.
“To serve them better, this year we open briefly before they leave for out-of-town events so they can get a snack for the bus ride. Again, I am lucky to have FCCLA members who can pop over from study hall to help during this time as well.”
In addition to cash sales, the shop also has punch cards available for $10 that parents of middle school/high school students can purchase for their children to make it easier to get their snacks. This year, FCCLA has partnered with the Week-END Kids’ Hunger program, so middle school and high school students who sign up for the program have punch cards at The Snack Shop and are able to get two snacks a day.
“Since the punch cards are utilized by any and all students, they offer those in the Week-END Kids’ Hunger program anonymity,” Kram shared.
If parents need a Week-END Kids’ Hunger permission form, it can be found on the Langdon Area School Facebook page or by contacting Amy Kram. Parents can contact Kram at email@example.com for more information if they are interested in purchasing punch cards.