DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa families near the poverty level have received extra help to buy groceries during the pandemic, but that increase will end soon.
The United States Department of Agriculture granted Iowa additional funding for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) every month of the COVID-19 pandemic, including $28 million for February. However, that funding is contingent on Iowa keeping its COVID-19 disaster declaration, which is set to expire this month.
The USDA estimates there are more that 141,000 Iowan families which use SNAP benefits to purchase groceries. The Food Bank of Iowa worries how they will adjust to shrinking benefits as groceries remain the same price.
“Things aren’t going to go quickly back to normal for those people at the lower level of our socioeconomic ladder,” said Michelle Book of the Food Bank of Iowa. “It just won’t, they don’t recover as quickly. These are folks that go to the grocery store with their calculator and pay very close attention to what they have on their EBT card.”
While Iowa’s USDA emergency allotment extension will expire in March, the extra funding ended for six states in February: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, and Utah.