2 Million Children at Risk as DeSantis is Poised to Pass Up $820 Million in Federal Food Assistance

Florida has not yet opted to participate in the Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. Unless administration leadership  acts now, Florida is poised to leave $820 million in federal pandemic food assistance from Summer P-EBT for over 2 million hungry children on the table.

Summer P-EBT provides federal funding at no cost to states to deliver grocery benefits to children who missed out on free or reduced-price meals while their school or child care facilities were closed during the summer. Since summer feeding programs only reach 1 in 5 children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school, Summer P-EBT is a way to ensure that children in participating states do not go hungry while school is out.

Although schools have already started, it is not too late for Florida to elect to participate in Summer P-EBT, which can be provided retroactively. Many families carried much of the burden of meal costs for their children over the summer and are playing catch up from added food and other pandemic-related costs.

This $820 million in federal pandemic food assistance would come at no cost to states, has strong bipartisan support, and has already been implemented in most states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas. Our Governor must step up for Florida’s children and act quickly to implement this critical nutrition program.

Here is what we’ve done so far, and what you can do to help…

Florida Impact to End Hunger—along with Florida Policy Institute, No Kid Hungry, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and Feeding Tampa Bay—has created a press release and a sign-on letter urging Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Children and Families to stand up for Floridians. We have until Friday, August 27th, 2021 to get as many organizations on this letter as we can. Please find more information about this effort and the sign-on form here ⮕ https://rebrand.ly/summerpebtadvocacy

On Thursday, August 26th, Florida Impact and Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried held a press conference calling on DeSantis to request the $820M in available federal food assistance for Florida children. You can find photos of the event below (click to enlarge) featuring our President/CEO Kim M. Johnson and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. You can watch the full press conference here.

Here is the media picking this up so far:

And here are additional letters to DeSantis:

Check back to this blog post for updates. Last updated: Thursday, April 26th — 4:45 PM.

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