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Branstad likely to approve tax dollars for Food Bank of Iowa

(Radio Iowa) – Governor Terry Branstad rejected the idea of sending state tax dollars to the Food Bank of Iowa last year, but Branstad says he is “much more likely” to approve a $1 million state appropriation this year.

“This year, unlike last year, it’s a one-time appropriation and it’s to be matched by at least as much in private sector contributions,” Branstad says.

Last year Branstad rejected the legislature’s plan to send the Food Bank of Iowa $500,000, saying “private donations are the best way to support the Food Bank.”

Branstad invited the executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa to his office this morning to tout a food drive that will culminate over the 4th of July holiday. Carey Miller of the Food Bank of Iowa said hunger is prevalent in Iowa.

“Today, more than 408,000 Iowans — one in eight — are food insecure, meaning they do not have the means to obtain adequate food to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle,” she said. “What’s even more alarming is that one in five children do not have enough to eat.”

The “Yankee Doodle Food Drive” is underway and Iowans can drop their food donations off at any of the 38 Bank of the West location in Iowa. Jodi Beller is a senior vice president and regional manager for Bank of the West.

“Particular needs that we have are high-protein items such as canned meats, tuna fish, peanut butter and 100 percent fruit juices,” she said during the news conference.

The Yankee Doodle Food Drive will end July 3 when the Des Moines Symphony performs its annual concert on the steps of the statehouse, with an audience of more than 100,000.  Margie Hawks works for Dahl’s Foods, which has 13 grocery stores in the Des Moines area that are also serving as drop-off sites for Food Bank donations.

“School is not in session and so the need actually increases because children are not getting breakfast and lunch at school,” Hawks said during the news conference.

Food Bank of Iowa staff says for every dollar donated, they can provide four-and-a-half meals. That means the state appropriation is likely to provide 4.5 million meals to needy Iowans.