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heck-off would support food banks

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 11:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:24 p.m. CDT

“Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.”

These are the words of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Iowan recently enshrined in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol, Norman Borloug.

Last year, I helped pass legislation to establish the Iowa Emergency Food Purchase Program. The Iowa Emergency Food Purchase Program makes $1 million available to Iowa’s food banks through a dollar-for-dollar match of all private contributions during the 2013-14 fiscal year. 

With the establishment of this program, Iowa became the 39th state to provide support for its food banks. A state match of $1 million to $1 million in private contributions will equal 9 million additional meals for nearly 400,000 food insecure Iowans.

This session, I’m working with a bi-partisan group of legislators to extend this successful program for another year. Also, I’ve sponsored a bill, HF 2430, which would add a “check-off” to the tax form for Iowans to donate a dollar to Iowa’s food banks. 

This bill is passing through the process rapidly in the final weeks of session. I’m hopeful it will come to the house floor for debate soon. We must do the right thing and stand with our food banks if we are to truly meet Governor Branstad’s goal to make Iowa the “Healthiest State.” 

It’s the great paradox of Iowa.  We are the breadbasket of the world, yet many Iowans go to bed hungry at night. It is particularly upsetting to realize that many of these Iowans are children. 

According to the Food Bank of Iowa, one in eight Iowans are food insecure. Worse yet, one in five Iowa children lack enough to eat on a regular basis.

Many underprivileged children suffer from chronic under-nutrition, the under-consumption of essential nutrients and food energy. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to serious health problems, including impaired cognitive development, growth failure, physical weakness, anemia and growth stunting.

Hunger isn’t simply a health issue, there is a stigma attached to hunger that only those who have experienced it can understand. The volunteers and staff who work Iowa’s 1,014 emergency feeding organizations in 99 counties know the importance of treating hungry Iowans with dignity, respect, and a caring, smiling face.

• • •

I am proud to represent Newton, Baxter, Colfax, Kellogg, Lambs Grove, Mingo, Ira, Prairie City, and Valeria. Feel free to contact me anytime via phone at (641) 521-9260 or by email at dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov. Please visit my website at www.electkelley.com. “Friend” me on Facebook and ‘follow’ me on Twitter.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

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