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Iowa Governor Announces $5 Million in Grants to Bolster Food Banks and Networks
Iowa Ag Connection - 06/02/2023

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has announced a plan to allocate $5 million in federal funds as grants for the construction and improvement of food banks and food networks. The grants will be administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and will support new construction, expansion, or rehabilitation of existing facilities. Food banks and food pantry networks are eligible to apply, while individual food pantries are not. The funding comes from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

The grants can cover up to 25% of the total project cost, with a maximum cap of $2 million. Applications will be accepted from June 1 to July 1, and projects must be completed by June 30, 2026. The aim is to enhance capacity and distribution capabilities in Iowa's food banks, thereby reducing food insecurity in the state.

Linda Gorkow, Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, expressed appreciation for the funds, highlighting the need to address rising food costs and the increasing number of individuals seeking assistance. However, some concerns have been raised by Blake Willadsen from the Des Moines Area Religious Council. He believes that addressing the root causes of poverty and ensuring accessible government assistance programs like SNAP are more effective in combating food insecurity.

Governor Reynolds has not yet signed a bill passed by Iowa Republican lawmakers that would increase asset tests and verification requirements for SNAP recipients. Willadsen and others have voiced opposition to this bill, as it could render thousands ineligible for vital services.

At the federal level, a recent debt ceiling deal includes provisions to raise work requirements for SNAP recipients. Willadsen stresses the importance of SNAP as a direct and simple solution to food insecurity. He calls for continued support for government assistance programs to help those in need, alongside infrastructure investments.

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