Food banks "starving for donations"

No one could have predicted that the Food Bank of Iowa would have trouble this summer getting adequate supplies to “a network of 280 organizations providing food to people in 42 counties.” Oh wait, everyone could have predicted that, because donations to food banks typically drop during the warm months, not only in Iowa but all over the country. Meanwhile, demand for food banks increases, particularly among families with hungry children not receiving free school lunches during the summer.

The $500,000 state appropriation to the Iowa Food Bank Association, which Governor Terry Branstad blocked, wouldn’t have entirely filled the gap for the Food Bank of Iowa and seven other food banks around the state, but it would have provided more supplies to an organization that is “starving for donations.” Nothing wrong with the governor encouraging private gifts to the Food Bank of Iowa, but the unmet need would be smaller with state funds added to the mix. UPDATE: Radio Iowa reports on shortages at the Omaha-based food bank that serves 16 Iowa counties. Federal funding cuts are an issue, which is all the more reason for state government to step up and help.

  • actually

    you have hit on why Branstad is trying to avoid state-level revenue collection and why the DMR wrote an op-ed supporting him:

    Federal funding cuts are an issue, which is all the more reason for state government to step up and help.

    Since the mid-60s, agriculture and food programs have been lumped together (farm bill) to “marry” two unpopular programs (agricultural supports/social spending). Political factions supporting either have viewed the other as a necessary evil. Food banks came to be to support agriculture (a market for surplus).

    About a month ago, there was a vote to separate food aid from agriculture. A shocking number of senators voted “for,” including Grassley. If ag gets to big for its britches, SNAP is hosed.

    Agree or disagree, Branstad is unlikely to sign up for any hint of the state taking responsibility for this function, esp while fb negotiations continue. About the smartest move is to do what more than a few states have done, which is implement donations via check-off on state tax forms. Properly publicized, the potential to raise more than $500K is there.

    I would also say that pols could take a leadership role in organizing drives — why just Branstad/Reynolds? That’s how it works for the National Capital Food Bank. It’s regularly featured as one of the top priority “giving” options in the area. I do agree that Branstad’s efforts thus far have been less than impressive to promote a culture of support for Iowa’s food banks.

  • I looked up the bill

    last session regarding tax incentives for food donors. Unfortunately, it appears to have only applied to food producers. It passed the senate, not sure what happened in the house.

    I think an incentive for all Iowans on the state tax form might be a reasonable middle ground solution. Clearly govt funds would be dedicated while giving the appearance of voluntary donation.

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