CORONAVIRUS

Iowa state senators call for state food assistance for those affected by pandemic

(FILE) Iowa State Senator Zach Wahls, was the keynote speaker, Saturday, April 13, 2019,  at the Responding to the Many
(FILE) Iowa State Senator Zach Wahls, was the keynote speaker, Saturday, April 13, 2019, at the Responding to the Many Faces of Hate Symposium held at the Eastern Iowa Community College Urban campus in Davenport. John Schultz/Quad-City Times

Iowa Senate Democrats are calling for a multimillion-dollar investment in supplemental food assistance for Iowans who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Emergency authorization of ‘rainy-day’ funds for supplemental food assistance will help combat food insecurity, which has tripled for Iowa families with children since the start of the pandemic,” said Iowa Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville. “This is more than a rainy day — it’s a thunderstorm.”

Wahls was joined by 12 members of the 2021 Senate Democratic caucus in the letter calling on fellow legislators and Gov. Kim Reynolds to pass immediate assistance for food and other basic needs as early as possible in the 2021 legislative session, which begins Jan. 11.

They note the state finished fiscal 2020 with an ending balance of more than $305 million and has more than $770 million in reserve accounts.

“Food assistance would help Iowa families who are struggling right now,” said Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids. “It also would help our community grocery stores, which need more customers, and Iowa farmers, who need more markets for their products.”

Area senators who signed onto the letter include Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City and Liz Mathis of Hiawatha.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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