The Ottumwa Courier

Opinion

June 19, 2013

Iowa food banks get a boost from state budget bill

They are stark facts that seem contrary in a state that grows so much food for the world.

One in eight Iowans doesn’t have enough food to support a healthy lifestyle. One in five children doesn’t have enough to eat on a given day.

So we’re glad and relieved that Gov. Terry Branstad has given his nod of approval to state money for Iowa’s food banks.

Last year the governor vetoed a $500,000 appropriation for food banks from the state budget, saying voluntary contributions should finance their operations.

This year’s different, the governor said recently, because “it’s a one-time appropriation that’s being matched by at least as much in private-sector donations.”

Which means food banks around Iowa will have to raise $1 million privately to access the full amount included in the budget by the Legislature.

Raising money is nothing new for food banks. They constantly seek donations of food and the money to buy it. The food demand is constant year-round, but does get higher at times like holidays and this time of year when children are out of school and don’t have access to reduced-cost breakfast and lunch programs. (Kudos to some communities which are taking up summer meal programs for students. It’s certainly a big step in the right direction.)

As for the governor, we know he has concern for Iowa’s hungry; he noted his support for food banks going back to his first year in office, 1983. He also pointed out that state workers are currently conducting a food drive.

But the governor also is concerned with Iowa’s budget, and must see this food bank legislation as fitting with his fiscal policies because of the matching-funds requirement.

Hunger shouldn’t have to be a daily worry for any Iowan.

Globe Gazette. June 17, 2013.

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