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The effect of decreased SNAP benefits in Iowa

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Ahead of the holidays, we revisit this conversation about changing SNAP benefits and food insecurity in Iowa.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the USDA allowed states special waivers that gave SNAP recipients the maximum allowable benefits, as opposed to whatever they might qualify for under the program. That ended in April when the department terminated the pandemic level allowance. This resulted in a tens of millions of dollars decrease in the total number of benefits allocated to Iowans.

On this encore episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with two Iowans about what the cut has meant for them. Also this hour, a nutrition educator discusses how changes to SNAP were experienced more broadly. Finally, the CEO of a Des Moines food pantry group discusses where hungry families turn when benefits are reduced.

This episode was originally produced June 2, 2022.


  • Tara Kramer, resident of Des Moines
  • Cecelia Proffit, resident of Iowa City
  • Christine Hradek, nutrition education program manager at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • Matt Unger, CEO of DMARC Food Pantry Network in Des Moines
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa