Northwest Iowa — Hunger impacts children, working adults, seniors and persons with disabilities here in our area, and all across Iowa. More than 389,000 Iowans are struggling with hunger. Many may be eligible for Iowa Food Assistance Program benefits but have not applied.
Map the Meal Gap 2015 commissioned a study by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Nielsen Company. The study estimates that, here in the four county area of Lyon, Sioux, Osceola and O’Brien Counties, approximately 9.7% of the population struggle with hunger. O’Brien County has the highest percentage at 11.4%, followed by Osceola at 10.8%, Lyon at 9.6%, and Sioux at 9.1%
When you look at the number of children under 18 years of age who struggle with hunger, the four county average is estimated at approximately 17.02%. Here in our four county area, O’Brien has the highest estimated percentage at 19.0%, followed by Osceola at 18.2%, Sioux at 16.4%, and Lyon at 16.0%
To help alleviate this problem The Iowa Food Bank Association has launched a Hotline to assist those inquiring about benefits. Callers are able to speak with a specialist who can provide answers about eligibility and help in completing the lengthy application. Since the Hotline’s launch, specialists have assisted completing and submitting over 190 applications.
The Iowa Food Bank Association Hotline, 855-944-FOOD (3663), is staffed 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with additional assistance provided after hours on high-volume call days. The Hotline is a part of the Iowa Food Bank Association Outreach program.
The Iowa Food Assistance Program is funded through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services program. Food Assistance benefits help to prevent hunger, improve nutrition and provide economic gains to farmers, food producers and grocers. They are available to citizens and some qualified documented immigrants who meet eligibility requirements. Iowa Food Assistance benefits are utilized through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that looks like any other debit card.
To view the Overall county by county numbers for Iowa, click here.
To view the Children’s numbers county by county for Iowa, click here.