Hungry Kids in Iowa?

This week, my team asked me and our organization, Children and Family Urban Movement, to sign on to a petition, protesting a recent decision by our state leaders to turn down $29 Million in federal subsidies, regarding EBT cards for supplemental food to look out for not only our kids in the neighborhood, but all food insecure kids in Iowa.

I felt it was too late, the decision was already made, and the only thing I’d be doing by signing the petition was making a partisan/political statement. I am not partisan nor political. I am all about solving problems, especially for children and their families.

Food insecurity is an official term from the USDA. It’s when people don’t have enough to eat and don’t know where their next meal will come from. It’s a big problem in the United States, where over 44 million people, including 13 million children, experience food insecurity annually.

Independent, non-partisan studies show 300,000 Iowa residents face food insecurity. One-third of them are children according to statistics from Food Bank of Iowa and its CEO Michelle Book. One in seven working Iowa households and one in six senior citizens are food insecure in Iowa.

This means, in Iowa, 100,000 kids are food insecure, struggling, and unsure of where their next meal is coming from.

We know this to be true. We know these kids. Many of them come to CFUM ‘s Breakfast Club, The Haven, and our Supper Club program. That is why we are here, doing what we do, to meet the needs of the children & families in our neighborhood. Without groups like CFUM, Bidwell Riverside Child Development Center, and others making sure children facing many other challenges are not distracted from their learning by hunger pangs or the stress of worrying where the next meal is coming from. CFUM’s partnership with Moulton Elementary makes sure our collective kids have the opportunity to eat 3 meals per day throughout the week.

I felt it was too late to sign the petition protesting the EBT supplemental food decision, but it is not too late to ask for your help in supporting our daily efforts to alleviate childhood hunger. You can make a difference now with a donation.

Please read this recent opinion piece in the Des Moines Register to better understand this issue.

I would advise Iowa leaders who dropped the EBT program and stated, “No child should go hungry, least of all in Iowa, but the Summer EBT Program fails to address the barriers that exist to healthy and nutritional foods”, they could have avoided the backlash and questioning by more clearly communicating their upcoming plan to better serve our 100,000 food insecure children in Iowa.

As this excerpt from the Des Moines Register states, “To be fair, that won’t matter if the state keeps Snow’s pledge in the news release: “We are already leveraging family-focused, community-based solutions to support child nutrition and well-being in the summer, and we look forward to expanding these existing partnerships.” It’s a big promise, and these officials need to be held accountable for it.”

As of today, I know of no communication or indication of leveraging of resources from the state of Iowa to vital community groups like CFUM to better serve our hungry children this summer, and I am looking forward to hearing something soon as we continue to serve our precious children and anticipate serving many more children this summer.

I would advise you, the compassionate heroic reader and friend, if I may, to keep this issue close to your heart and as advised above, “hold these leaders accountable for not only an answer and a plan, but for actually meeting the needs of the 100,000 hungry kids in Iowa.”

– Andy Bales

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