Hunger in Iowa

[by Cathy Lafrenz]

It is the week after Thanksgiving and most of us have stuffed ourselves with turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie.  We have had turkey sandwiches, turkey casseroles and pecan pie for breakfast. We are full and now we are searching for the next hip diet that promises 10 pounds lost in 2 days. That is many of us ……. not all of us.

This week of feasting and celebrating the harvest brings some very disturbing news.  Iowa farmers  feed the nation.  Yet almost a half a million Iowans don’t have enough food.  Almost a half a million Iowans wonder when their next meal will be.  Over a quarter of a million Iowans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly, food stamps.

In this land of plenty …… all I can see ….. is plenty of hungry people.

Forty percent of all infants born in Iowa receive WIC assistance. Forty percent of our babies don’t have enough to eat.

Between June 2008 and June 2009 – the number of Iowans using food pantries has increased 24%! 

Right now, Iowa ranks 21st in food security.  For the last year, almost 15% of Americans have been deemed food insecure.  The nationwide trend is not growing but exploding as noted by this New York Times report. 

And the face of hunger is changing.  It is our neighbors. Our friends. It could be you.  It could be me. 

Look around you. 1 in every 8 Americans is getting food assistance.  Go to a school ……… 1 in every 4 children are getting assistance.

I live in Scott County. Look on the numbers on the map.  There has been a 22% increase in SNAP use in 2 years!

Americans spend $450 billion on Christmas. One day. $450 billion.

It is time to trade consumerism for compassion.

In this land of plenty.  In this year of a record-harvest….. we should not have hunger in Iowa. Please find it in your heart to give to place like this25% of all Iowa children will thank you.

Cathy
Lafrenz is a regular contributor for Blog for Iowa on the topic of
food.  She serves on the board of the Quad-Cities chapter of Buy Fresh-Buy Local
She raises hens for egg production and is Animal Welfare ApprovedIn
her spare time she advocates for health care reform, spins yarn, and
knits every pair of socks she wears.  Check out her blog, Miss Effie’s Diary

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