DES MOINES — There are Iowans who continue to struggle to put food on the table.
Food Bank of Iowa spokeswoman Annette Hacker says their demand has not eased at all. “We have really seen the numbers just continue to rise for the last 12 months or so ever since. The emergency proclamation lifted and SNAP benefits returned to normal levels back in April of 2022. Nearly every month since then has been a record in terms of people needing food assistance,” she says.
The Food Bank of Iowa serves 55 of the state’s 99 counties. “We served about 110,000 in March of 2022 compared with 169,000in March of 2023,” Hacker says.
Hacker she fears the numbers aren’t going to drop anytime soon. “I hate to say it but we don’t see any ceiling in sight. The people who need food assistance are being crushed from all sides with the SNAP legislation that appears it will be signed soon,” Hacker says. “That will make SNAP benefits even more difficult to get. It will make some people not even apply and others perhaps be eliminated from SNAP benefits.”
Hacker said the summer ahead will be a critical time. “Because kids are out of school, and those children who rely on free and reduced price meals suddenly don’t have those at school. And parents who have kids at home have to come up with an extra 10 to 15 meals every day per child,” she says. “And if your budget is stretched thin and you’re already having a hard time affording groceries, that just makes it even more difficult.”
Here in north-central Iowa, the Food Bank of Iowa serves agencies in Cerro Gordo, Worth, Franklin, Winnebago, Hancock, and Wright counties.