Over 140 Faith Leaders call for action on Summer EBT

Re: Iowa Interfaith Leaders – feeding hungry children this summer the right thing to do

Governor Kim Reynolds
Office of the Governor
State Capitol
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Lt. Governor Adam Gregg Office of the Governor
State Capitol
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Director Kelly Garcia
Iowa Department of Health & Human Services
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Governor Reynolds, Lt. Governor Gregg, and Director Garcia,

Feeding the poor is a universal value shared by all major faith traditions and all cultures – this is especially true when it comes to feeding children.

These are the words shared in the summer of 2023 when faith leaders from across our state appealed to your offices to enroll in the Summer Pandemic EBT program. These words are still true now as we plead with you once again: please change course on your December 22nd statement that Iowa will not participate in the 2024 Summer EBT Program.

We were grateful and relieved that our state did the right thing in 2023. We saw how the $29 million dollars going directly to the families of over 244,000 Iowa children made a significant positive difference. The EBT cards gave parents an accessible way to provide for their families with dignity. Struggling families were able to purchase healthy groceries in the communities where they lived. These EBT cards provided relief to families with children in a very stressful time.

In the past several months food pantries across Iowa have been overwhelmed by record breaking need. Our faith communities are going above and beyond to help meet that need. But volunteers are exhausted, financial resources are running low, and yes, some pantries are running out of food. Our state is in a food insecurity state of emergency. Right now, we all need to work together and use every available resource to address this crisis.

Please do not reject such a huge opportunity to support our children, our families, and our communities. If Iowa is forced to go without the Summer EBT Program, summer feeding sites and private charities will not be able to make up the difference—and many kids will go without. We can already see the strain in our communities. We need more help to fight hunger, not less.

We, the undersigned Iowa leaders from all across the religious spectrum call on the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services to immediately contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and work with our federal partners to provide summer nutrition benefits to children in our state through the Summer EBT program.

Feeding children is always the right thing to do. Show us that we can trust our Iowa leaders to do the right thing and make certain no child goes hungry.


Elder Amgad Beblawi Presbytery of Des Moines
Harkirat CHuMber Sikh Community
Jean Davis
Gale Francione Liturgical Design Consultant
Jacob Guckenberger Christ Community Church
Glenda M Hughes
Dr. Laurie Iudin-Nelson
Bishop Kevin T Jones Northeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA
David Judisch Path to Citizenship
DiAnn Walls Kipper Corinthian Baptist Church-Evangelism Ministry
Jon Krieg AFSC Midwest Region
Dennis and Sharon Littlejohn
Amy Mellies
Rev. Andrea J. Myers St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Urbandale
Bonnie K. Pruett First Congregational Church
Heidi Swets NE Iowa Peace and Justice Center
Rev. Mara Bailey United Methodist Church
Rev Dan Baldwin Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Susan Bantz
Rabbi Emily Barton Tifereth Israel Synagogue
Rev. Elizabeth A Bell Adel and Dallas Center UMC
Rev. Dr. Mary L Bellon, Ph.D. Collegiate/Wesley United Methodist Church
Rev.Dr. Mary L Bellon, Ph.D. Collegiate/Wesley United Methodist Church
Rev. William Bernau Saint James Lutheran Church
Rabbi Linda Bertenthal Temple Emanuel and Congregation Beth Israel
Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai United Methodist Church, Iowa Annual Conference
Carol Birkland First Lutheran Church, Decorah
Rev. Robyn Bles Wakonda Christian Church
Rev. Candice K. Brown  

Retired Clergy, Highland Park Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Des Moines,IA

Pastor Eric Carlson Faith Lutheran Church, Clive
Rev. Kyle Carswell St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Brian Edward Carter Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Urbandale
Rev Owen A Cayton Ankeny Christian Church
Rev. John Chaplin
Tom Chapman Iowa Catholic Conference
Deacon Larry A. Christensen ELCA
Reverend Megan Clausen Faith Lutheran Church ELCA
Rev. Denny Coon United Methodist Church
Pastor Jonathan Cox Island United Methodist Church
Rev. Lewis Cox Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation
Debora Crowley Community of Christ
Bishop Amy Current Southeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA
Nicola Damce St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
Rev. Katie Z. Dawson Iowa Conference United Methodist Church
Kanwarpal S. Dhugga Sikhs of Iowa Khalsa Heritage, Incorporated (SIKH, INC.)
John Doherty St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
Len & Diane Eberhart
Rev. Dr. Jennifer E. Edinger
Karen Fausch
Julie Feldman
Rev. Dr. Frederick K. Gaddy St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church Des Moines
Rev. Laura Gentry Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
Ratwinder Gill Sikhs Of Iowa Khalsa Heritage
The Rev. Elizabeth Gillman St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Lisa Grace
Rev, Debra Griffin Downtown Disciples
Pastor Kelsey Guckenberger Christ community church
Cindy Hickman United Methodist
Rev. Jodi Hinrichs Peace Lutheran Church, Adel
Pastor Mark J. Holmes Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Jeffrey D. Jacobs St Paul Lutheran-Lime Springs
Rev. Tim Jacobsen
Rev. Mike Janes
Rev. Heecheon H. Jeon First United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation of Iowa City
Rev. Patricia Johnson St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Kristin Johnston Largen Wartburg Theological Seminary
Cantor Gail Karp, Emerita One Human Family Quad Cities
Rev. Aleese M. Kenitzer Shepherd of the Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Kirsten Klepfer Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Rev. Peter R. Kowitz Decorah Lutheran Church
Very Reverend Kenneth Kuntz Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Davenport
Rev Carmen Lampe Zeitler Wellspring Community Church
Pastor Dave L. Lenth Upper Iowa Conference of Pastors
Rev. Kathleen Lotz Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Dr. Sharin Mahood

Rev. LeAnn Stubbs

Episcopal priest, retired

Plymouth Church, Des Moines

Karen Martin-Schramm First Lutheran Church, Decorah
Rev. Dr. James B. Martin-Schramm Luther College
Rev. Peter W. Marty St. Paul Lutheran Church
The Reverend Jean McCarthy St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, Des Moines IA
Monique McDonald Iowa Episcopalians
Kathi Mitchell Lay Servant Burr Oak United Methodist Church
Barb Callaghan Mitchell
Mary Moermond Walnut Hills United Methodist Church
Rev. Betsey Monnot, Bishop Retired, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa
Rev. McIver Mullins St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, IA
Rev. Karen Nichols Dungan United Methodist Church
Rev. Cathy Nutting United Methodist Church
Rev. Bill O’Connell St. Paul Presbyterian Church
Rev. Del Olivier First Congregational United Church of Christ
Rev Virginia Olson
Rev. Dr. Timothy V. Olson Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Rev. Sara Olson-Smith St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport
Pastor Paul Ostrem ELCA
Rev. Eric Pasanchin Ankeny Presbyterian Church
Odesa Peake
The Rev. Peter A. Pettit, Ph.D. St. Paul Lutheran Church
Rev. Robert L. Pickerell Disciples of Christ
Lynn Pleggenkuhle Decorah UU
Michelle Plymale
Kristin Propson Congregational Decorah United Church of Christ
Rev. Marion Pruitt- Jefferson Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel
Rev. David Kebschull St Mark Lutheran Church, Storm Lake
Sarai Rice Retired, Presbyterian Minister
Rev Laurie Riley Hudson and Janesville United Methodist Church
Rev. LeAnn Robine Corning United Methodist Church
Rev. Lee Roorda Schott Valley United Methodist Church, West Des Moines
Rev. Matthew W.G. Rossler Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Jodi Rushing First United Methodist Church
Tracy Sabus St. Stephen Lutheran Church
Rev. Dr. Pamela S. Saturnia
Rev. Holly Scherff St. John’s Episcopal Church
The Rev Mel Schlachter The Episcopal Church
Rev. Mark Schlenker ELCA
Rev. Travis Segar Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Rev. David Severtson First Lutheran Church, Decorah
Parvinder Singh Sikhs of Iowa khalsa heritage
Clare Smith-Larson Capitol Hill Christian Church
Imam Nermin Spahic Islamic and Cultural Center “Bosniak” of Des Moines
Greg & Julie Stokke
Matt Tapscott Decorah Community Food Pantry
Rev. Daryl J. Thompson Calmar & Springfield Lutheran Churches
Rev Rachel Thorson Mithelman
John Tyson Des Moines Mennonite Church
Rev. April Ulring Larson ELCA clergy
Rev. Trevor Vaughn Immanuel United Methodist Church
Rev. Heather Wachendorf New Beginnings Christian Church
The Reverend Canon Meg Wagner The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa
Rev. Katy Warren St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport
Rev. Beth Wartick
Kit J. Whan Madison Market
Rev. Paris White
Rev. Michael Wilker First Lutheran Church
Rev. Nathan Williams Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines
Edythe Williams
Rev. Kathleen Wohlers ELCA
Lance Wood Decorah Community Food Pantry
Rev. Dr. Jared Wortman Plymouth Congregational Church
Rev. David Wrightsman Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Rev. Carmen Lampe Zeitler Wellspring Community Church
Steven Zittergruen Board President, Decorah Community Food Pantry



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