Nebraska Governor Rejects Federal Funds for Kids’ Meals

Nebraska’s Governor, Jim Pillen, recently said no to $18 million in federal funds aimed at feeding kids who might not have enough food during school breaks.

This decision has stirred controversy and raised concerns among advocates for children and low-income families.

Summer EBT Program Rejection

The federal Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) program intended to provide pre-loaded cards, worth $40 per eligible child per month, to families whose kids qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

These cards can be used to buy groceries, similar to SNAP benefits. However, Pillen firmly stood against participating in this program, declaring the pandemic-era government aid programs should end.

Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Jim Pillen, on Friday reiterated his rejection of $18 million in federal funding to help feed children who might otherwise go hungry while school is out:

Supporters vs. Critics

While Pillen defended his stance by stating that he doesn’t believe in welfare, critics argue that this federal aid could significantly benefit around 175,000 Nebraska children facing food insecurity during summer breaks.

The cost for the state to participate would be around $300,000, a fraction of the estimated $18 million benefit.

Advocacy and Petitions

Advocacy groups, like Nebraska Appleseed, rallied support through petitions, gathering over 6,100 signatures from various communities.

People shared their struggles with rising costs and how this program could ease the burden, especially for families with tight budgets.

Alternative Programs and Concerns

Pillen mentioned that Nebraska would still support food-insecure children through the Summer Food Service Program.

However, critics argue that not all families have easy access to these service sites, especially those residing in rural areas, leading to potential gaps in reaching those in need.

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Concerns Rise as Governor Rejects Funds for Children’s Meals

Community leaders, educators, and community advocates expressed disappointment in the governor’s decision, highlighting the importance of ensuring children have enough to eat.

Some speculated that political pressures might have influenced Pillen’s rejection of the federal funding.

National Participation

While many other states and territories have confirmed their participation in this federal program, Nebraska’s refusal stands out, marking a divergence from the collective effort to aid food-insecure children across the nation.

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