State officials have conducted a campaign to increase the number of Iowans who’re getting “food stamps” — and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving Iowa a nearly half-a-million dollar “bonus” for the three-year effort. Ann Wiebers, an administrator of the Iowa Department of Human Services, says in August, over 230-thousand Iowans received food stamps.
“That was a 45 percent increase from June of ’03,” Weibers says. “We have been doing a concentrated effort in trying to get the people who are already eligible for the food stamp program to access the food stamp program.” Wiebers isn’t sure what strings are attached to that four-hundred-90-thousand dollar federal bonus.
“We have to go back and figure out where this money would help us the most,” she says. The state could use an update on the computer technology used to administer the food stamp program, according to Wiebers.”Another option is to use some of the funds to help us continue with our outreach efforts,” she says. “We know that we need to reach the elderly population better.”
Food stamp benefits come from federal tax dollars but are administered by each state’s welfare agency. Low income Iowans received 240-million dollars worth of food stamps from July 1st, 2005 to June 30th of this year.