Slashes to Iowa’s Food Assistance Program (SNAP) Budget would be devastating

The Iowa Hunger Coalition is deeply grieved and disheartened to see the proposed slashing of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the President’s Budget. These proposed cuts would reduce the program by about 1/3, reduce benefits of current recipients, deprive families of their right to choose what’s best for their families, harm local grocers and farmers, and increase food demand that Food Banks and Anti-Hunger Organizations would not be able to meet. The Food Assistance program is a successful and essential tool in the fight to end poverty, as well as generating positive economic activity in communities.

Food Assistance is providing food security for the most vulnerable Iowans, children, seniors, the disabled, and the working poor. Per USDA, nationally, nearly two-thirds of SNAP recipients are either disabled, elderly, or children. In Iowa, over 43% of those receiving Food Assistance are minors, while approximately 10% are seniors. Over the last several years, since the beginning of the economic recovery, the number of Iowans receiving SNAP benefits has declined steadily. Between December 2016 and December 2017, almost 20,000 Iowans who had been receiving Food Assistance benefits, progressed towards self-sufficiency and no longer had to depend on Food Assistance for food security. Per Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) data, in December 2017 the average monthly benefit per person was approximately $106.82. That equates to approximately $3.54 per day in a 30-day month and $1.18 per meal. The current Iowa household average benefit of $223.86 is a mere 26.5% of the USDA Low Cost Monthly plan amount of $843.40. Although modest, SNAP benefits are critically essential to a most basic human need, eating. Food Assistance is doing exactly what it is designed to do, helping recipients become self-sufficient.

Despite the growth and expansion seen in the programs and reach of the food banks and anti-hunger organizations, it would be impossible to accommodate the additional Iowans who would need support if these cuts were to be imposed. In 2013 when benefits were cut, Iowa anti-hunger organizations saw a 20% increase in need. Nutrition is a foundational element for health and success in every facet of life. Humans cannot function, learn, work, or advance without meaningful access to food. Food Assistance provides that access for those who need it most. Accordingly, the Iowa Hunger Coalition stands opposed to these cuts and asks that you contact your Congressional Representatives at (202) 221-3121 to voice your support for Food Assistance and opposition to the proposed cuts.

For more information:
Regenea A. Hurte, Iowa Hunger Coalition, 515-505-8628