The Nov. 25 Gazette editorial, “Food comes first,” is absolutely on target in calling for state funding to help reduce food insecurity. All food provided by charity, from faith communities, businesses, organizations and individuals, amounts to only 6 percent of the food provided to the poor through government programs. Private charity cannot expand enough to meet the current needs.
Malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, from conception through age 2, does irreversible harm. It compromises brain development and alters physiological processes, increasing the risks of future heart disease and diabetes. Hunger costs our country an estimated $167 billion annually in lost productivity, reduced educational outcomes and increased health care costs. A future healthy work force requires good nutrition.
In addition to asking Gov. Terry Branstad to support emergency funding for Iowa food banks, Iowans should urge Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin to create a circle of protection around funding for programs that help the hungry and poor, especially nutrition programs in the farm bill and WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. These programs help meet the nutritional needs, and protect the health, of millions of American families. Adequate nutrition is a matter of national security.
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