Our state is turning its back on the hungry


To the Editor:
On Jan. 14 David Roederer, director of the Iowa Department of Management, told us Iowa will be leaving food banks out in the cold. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget for this year does not include funds for Iowa’s food banks.
We who volunteer at Iowa food banks know that growing numbers of senior veterans, young parents and innocent children are going hungry. According to Feeding America, a national food banks coalition, over 146,000 Iowa children lack access to a healthy diet.
The USDA tells us that the number of Iowans with unmet basic food needs surged to one in eight over the last two years.
Food program cuts, job scarcity and rising prices are increasing demands on food banks. Many are now forced to limit the number served. Religious communities and charitable groups do all they can, but we can’t keep up.
We have always been proud when Iowa comes to the aid of disaster victims, here and abroad. We have always been proud of Iowa’s role in feeding our country and a hungry world. Must we hang our heads in shame, as our state turns its back on hungry Iowans?
We know Iowa cares deeply about her farms and businesses. We must show, with more than words, that Iowa still cares about her people. Please everyone, ask our governor to reconsider.
Dan Daly
Iowa City

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1 thought on “Our state is turning its back on the hungry

  1. Part of the problem with SNAP and other services is that the data presented is often skewed to favor an emotional response. It would help if we stick to the facts – and present multiple sides. For example: “146,000 Iowa children lack access to a healthy diet.” may not be HUNGRY on a diet of chips, cookies, candy and pop…but it is clearly NOT a healthy diet. Yet people on SNAP repeatedly buy junk food at Dollar General when the grocery is a block away…until we start focusing on education to change behavior (and expecting improvement in that behavior), we’re just throwing money (albeit, necessary money) at a problem that is not going to go away. Let’s address the underlying problems instead of lamenting the lack of money we can throw at it!

    Similarly, the Messenger carried an article a while back asking if you could provide a meal for $1.40/person and cited SNAP benefits being cut for a family of 4 to $634/month. First of all, the numbers don’t add up…$1.40 * 3 meals/day * 4 people * 30 days/month (for sake of argument) is $504…not $634; secondly, *I* do it regularly (spend $100 or less per week on food, so I wondered on what they spent the other $130? Non-food items, perhaps? If so, why can’t that figure be itemized?); third, people who qualify for food stamps also often qualify for reduced or free school lunches, and sometimes breakfasts, so I find that $1.40/person noted (for effect, I suspect) is likely based on some other uncited fact, but I find its use disingenuous. It does not engender people’s sympathy when they feel like they are being fed a line.

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