DMARC Applauds Historic Increase to SNAP Benefits

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) applauds the recent announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate benefit amounts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in Iowa as Food Assistance.

As a result, effective October 1, the average SNAP benefit will increase by 27%, or $36.24 more per person, per month. A temporary 15% increase to SNAP benefits that was included in the 2021 American Rescue Plan is set to expire on September 30.

“For the 285,000 Iowans who rely on SNAP benefits to help them feed their families, including 54,000 people here in Polk County, this announcement is huge,” said DMARC Chief Executive Officer Matt Unger.

The increase will lead to an additional $116 million in annual SNAP benefits for Iowans, according to the USDA. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.54 in economic activity.

DMARC CEO Matt Unger

“SNAP is the best tool we have in our belt in the fight against hunger,” said Unger. “It helps people put food on the table in a dignified way and supports our local economies to boot.”

The DMARC Food Pantry Network has seen a decrease in people enrolled in SNAP using food pantries during the pandemic, and credits the temporary 15% increase in use to SNAP benefits, Emergency Allotments providing the maximum benefit amount to all participants, and other additional assistance such as Pandemic EBT, stimulus payments, and the enhanced child tax credit payments for the slower traffic at food pantries.

“We know that when people have enough resources to purchase their own food at the grocery store, we see less folks in line at our food pantries,” said Unger. “While this is incredible progress for those who qualify for the SNAP program, we provide assistance to thousands more who do not qualify for SNAP benefits. We will continue to be here to help those folks meet their nutrition needs. At the same time, we will, and must continue to explore and attack those root causes leading to so many struggling with hunger and food insecurity in the first place.”

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