The Iowa Food Bank Association (IFBA) recently received a $25,000 grant from Aetna, a CVS Health company (NYSE: CVS). The funding will provide key personnel and resources for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) outreach services and to operate the IFBA SNAP Hotline.
“We’re committed to strengthening Iowa community resources that enable Medicaid members to take better control of their health,” said Ted Koutsoubas, Chief Strategy Officer for Aetna Medicaid. “Our donation will help champion IFBA’s innovative solutions to improve food security of under-resourced Iowans across the state.”
SNAP is the largest federal nutrition assistance benefits program for eligible low-income individuals and families. In 2022, more than 141,000 households in Iowa receive SNAP benefits, covering about 287,000 Iowans.
“We welcome Aetna’s generous donation,” said Linda Gorkow, Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association. “Currently, 1 in 9 Iowans are struggling with hunger. This donation will supplement the dollars we receive from federal funds to promote and operate our SNAP outreach and hotline program costs.”
Similar to food insecure populations in other states, Iowans in need may not be aware of SNAP benefits or take advantage of them because they fear it’s too difficult. Through an ongoing partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Department of Human Services, IFBA outreach specialists educate food insecure Iowans about SNAP benefits, how to apply for SNAP and the IFBA SNAP Hotline to assist Iowans to apply for SNAP over the phone.
“SNAP outreach helps Northwest Iowa’s food insecure populations by providing funds for purchase at local stores, helping local stores to stay open and allowing for greater access to fresh protein and produce,” says Jacob Wanderscheid, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Siouxland. “Aetna’s donation will assist in outreach to expand the program to all those who qualify.”
IFBA promotes these benefits and how to take advantage of SNAP through participation in over 1,000 annual community events across the state, where they distribute more than 20,000 SNAP Hotline flyers. This outreach spurs Iowans in need to call the IFBA SNAP Hotline, where additional specialists work with the individual callers to help them to complete and submit their SNAP Food Assistance application over the phone. The Hotline – (855) 944.FOOD (3663) – is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.