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Iowa Opts Out of Federal Summer Meal Program, Leaving Low-Income Children Hungry

The summer EBT program began during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some families powerless. The program provides $40 for food to children who qualify for free or reduced lunch. It gives families that are struggling to provide food for their children a slight relief. The act made struggling Iowans feel protected and heard. 

“Last summer, more than 1.6 million meals and snacks were served to children 18 and younger throughout Iowa as part of the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option program.” – Iowa Health and Human Services 

But in recent news, Governor Kim Reynolds has since pulled out of this program, which has left some Iowans very upset. This change will harmfully affect thousands of children across the state of Iowa. The change raises problems for families that are already struggling and takes food off the table from hungry children. 

"An EBT card does nothing to promote nutrition at a time when childhood obesity has become an epidemic” – Governor Kim Reynolds

Iowa Democratic state Sen. Izaah Knox found the decision both “cruel” and “short-sighted.” Some want this change to be revoked altogether, aware that this will hurt struggling Iowa families. Many were disappointed Reynolds would bring up obesity regarding a program that helps hungry children. It’s insulting to low-income families that she doesn't trust them to do the right thing. 

Starvation is not the solution to childhood obesity; thinking that it is, is incredibly ignorant. 30% of children in the North Scott district alone qualify for reduced lunch. This issue hits closer to home than some might think. Because this number doesn’t exceed 50%, these children will not receive government funding. As a result, they have since relied on the community through the local church. It is disappointing to see children have to desperately rely on their community instead of the officials sworn to protect them. 

This single change could negatively impact people you know and even the ones you don’t. I believe this decision demonstrates ignorance and a lack of empathy from our Governor. Regardless of your opinion, I believe it's incredibly important to remain educated on serious matters like this one, especially when regarding the future of our generation. 

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