Iowa Hunger Coalition and Iowa Food Bank Association Applaud and Commend the
Overwhelmingly Bi-Partisan Passage of the Senate Farm Bill
The members of the Iowa Hunger Coalition (IHC) and Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) are pleased to see the Senate work in a true spirit of bipartisanship to pass a Farm Bill that works for Iowans facing hunger. By voting in favor of the Senate Farm Bill, Senators Grassley and Ernst have acknowledged the critical role Food Assistance plays in the lives of the more than 345,000 Iowan children, seniors, veterans and disabled currently depending on Food Assistance to put food on the table daily. IHC and IFBA work in conjunction with over 1,000 partner agencies, such as faith-based organizations, soup kitchens, and local pantries, and Food Assistance is a key weapon in combating hunger in Iowa and helping Iowans through rough patches, so families can eat, while working to get back on their feet. The increased support of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is also a very welcome and very much needed provision of the Senate Farm Bill. The Iowa Food Banks currently operate this necessary program without adequate financial support. TEFAP foods are distributed to numerous pantries, soup kitchens, and other anti-hunger organizations, where they are distributed to Iowans in need and an increase in TEFAP funding means more food for more hungry Iowans. Now as this bill proceeds into conference committee, we urge Senators Grassley and Ernst to continue to support this bill as it represents the best way forward in the fight against hunger.
The House version of the Farm Bill has some dangerous provisions that could deepen the canyon of hunger in Iowa while limiting access to Food Assistance and adding immense, unnecessary burdens, mandates, and force additional costs on the state, in an already difficult financial climate. Duplicative work requirements, harsh penalties for certain individuals unable to find work within 1 short month, forcing families to choose between necessities such as heating or childcare and food, and cutting off the most vulnerable for making even $1 too much would have disastrous results for those already facing extraordinarily difficult circumstances. The House needs to focus on improving Food Assistance (SNAP), including enforcing existing requirements, instead of punishing the disabled, children, seniors, and veterans with indiscriminate cuts. Despite best efforts, the charitable organizations that work so hard to help those in need, would be totally inundated by the effects of these cuts, leaving more vulnerable Iowans unable to feed themselves or their families.
The Iowa Hunger Coalition, The Iowa Food Bank Association, their members, the more than 1,000 partner agencies, and the 1 in 9 Iowans who face food insecurity, continue to support the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by the Senate in executing a Farm Bill that supports those facing hunger and call on our House members to exhibit the same support of those working diligently towards self-sufficiency.