Des Moines, Iowa (October 5, 2015) – Many Iowans don’t get enough to eat and struggle to put enough food on the table. These Iowans include children, working adults, and older or persons with disabilities who may be eligible for Iowa Food Assistance Program benefits but haven’t yet applied for the program.
Beginning today, Iowans can call the new Iowa Food Bank Association Hotline to speak with someone who can help them with the Food Assistance application. The Hotline – 855-944-FOOD (3663) – is open 8:00 – 4:30 Monday through Friday with additional assistance provided after hours on high volume call days. The Hotline is a part of the Iowa Food Bank Association Outreach program and is made possible through grant funding from the Walmart Foundation and Feeding America, Telligen Community Initiative, and the United States Department of Agriculture through an ongoing partnership with the Iowa Department of Human Services.
“The establishment of a hotline will provide a big boost to our efforts to connect potentially eligible Iowans with the assistance they need,” said Cory Berkenes, Executive Director for Iowa Food Bank Association. “The hotline will support our Outreach Coordinators who already travel the state throughout the year assisting Iowans with the Food Assistance application”.
The IFBA and member food banks and pantries are working to get the word out to Iowans who may be eligible for Food Assistance benefits but who have not yet applied. One of the most common reasons people give as to why they haven’t applied is that they don’t think they are eligible due to many reasons.
The Iowa Food Assistance Program, funded through the federal US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services program is available to citizens and some qualified documented immigrants. Food Assistance benefits help to prevent hunger, improve nutrition and provide economic benefits to farmers, food producers and grocers. Iowa Food Assistance benefits are provided through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) that looks like any other debit card.
“No one should have to choose between medicine and food or between dinner on the table or heat in the house,” said Berkenes, noting that some 390,000 Iowans often have to make those choices.