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Louisiana Refused USDA Food Funds for Our Hungry Children

Dear Louisiana Friends,

Most hungry children in the United States will benefit from the USDA’s Summer EBT program. Louisiana’s children will not. Louisiana refused USDA food funds for our hungry children.

Next-to-last in the nation for child poverty, Louisiana refused the food funds. Nearly 600,000 Louisiana children will be hungrier this summer because our leaders in Baton Rouge chose to reject the Summer EBT funds.

There are no good reasons to keep food from hungry children, but questionable reasons were reported. By refuting them, perhaps Louisiana can participate next year in the nation’s permanent program of funding food for hungry children.

1. Our change of Governors kept Louisiana from participating.

No. With the USDA’s extended deadline, Governors Edwards and Landry both had the opportunity to enroll for our children.

2. Important political issues have been at play.

In Louisiana, political issues are always at play. However, these are never as important as the well-being of our children. Louisiana can do better.

3. Louisiana wanted to participate but could not deliver these funds to our hungry children.

No. Louisianans are people who make things happen in crises. In 2021, we quickly implemented Pandemic EBT to feed children. Summer EBT could have happened just as easily.

4. This will cost Louisiana money.

Participating in Summer EBT would have brought significant new money into Louisiana. Tennessee enrolled when it determined that “every dollar spent on Summer EBT generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in local economic activity.” Businesses in communities throughout Louisiana would have benefited from Summer EBT.

5. Louisiana accepts too much federal money, so we must draw the line.

Perhaps, but it is unprincipled to draw the line against children in poverty. Louisiana is better than this. If you, your family, your children, or your business have ever benefitted from federal funds flowing into Louisiana, then you cannot argue against Summer EBT funds for hungry children.

Friends, Summer EBT makes sense for our communities and our hungriest children. This year, both gubernatorial administrations rejected the USDA Summer EBT funds which would have helped feed nearly 600,000 children.

This year, Louisiana refused USDA food funds for our hungry children. That’s unacceptable. Let’s make it happen for our kids next year.

Rick Wheat
President and CEO
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services

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