Food Assistance for Needy Iowans

Written by Theresa Rose on March 30, 2015

Des Moines, Iowa – While many of Iowa’s senior citizens struggle to put nutritious food on the table, more than two-thirds of them who are eligible for assistance haven’t even signed up for help.

But AARP Iowa and the Iowa Food Bank Association are teaming up to get the word out to those needy Iowans and get them the help they need.

“You hear all kinds of reasons for why people don’t sign up,” said Kent Sovern, Iowa’s state director for AARP. “And most of them are based on outdated information or simply are not true. It’s heartbreaking.”

One of the most common reasons people give is that they are not eligible because they make too much money. But a single-person household with a gross monthly income of up to $1,557 can qualify. The average Social Security recipient in Iowa receives just over $1,000 a month.

With volunteers at the ready, AARP and the Iowa Food Bank Association are reaching out to sign up eligible Iowans** for the Food Assistance Program, sometimes referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP).

Some people may feel embarrassed to participate in what they perceive as a charity, but SNAP is a federal program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Benefits are loaded on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which is virtually indistinguishable from cards issued by banks.

“No one should have to choose between medicine and food or between dinner on the table or heat in the house,” said Sovern, noting that some 159,000 Iowa seniors often have to make those choices.

Iowa Food Bank Association staff will be in Southeast Iowa on March 30 – April 3, visiting several pantries, WIC clinics and senior centers, and is available by appointment. Please call Cindy Jones at 319-529-0533 for more information or to schedule an appointment. **The assistance is available to all Iowans.