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HomeNewsMississippi Withdraws from Child Food Program Amid Fierce Backlash

Mississippi Withdraws from Child Food Program Amid Fierce Backlash

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The governor of Mississippi has declared the state’s withdrawal from a federal program aimed at providing meals to children during their summer break from school. The governor frames the decision as rejecting what he perceives as “attempts to expand the welfare state.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, a member of the Republican Party, has chosen not to partake in a federal initiative that involves providing electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to low-income families.

These cards are intended to help supplement food costs during periods when academic classes are not in session, as reported by Mississippi Today. Families meeting the eligibility criteria were slated to receive $40 monthly, totaling $120, to address the break between school terms.

Contrary to Governor Reeves’s rationale, Mississippi’s welfare agency contradicted the decision, stating that the state lacks the capacity to administer the program effectively.

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A spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Mark Jones, stated, “Both the Mississippi Department of Education and the Department of Human Services lack the resources, including workforce capacity and funding, to support a summer EBT program.”

Governor Reeves’s recent remarks have sparked intense criticism. Nikole Hannah-Jones, a scholar and creator of the 1619 Project, condemned Reeves’s decision, characterizing it as an act of “cruelty.”

“The cruelty of being the poorest state in America and choosing – choosing – to turn down federal aid for poor children to eat,” remarked Nikole Hannah-Jones in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Keith Boykin, author, and co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, pointed out that funds allocated for welfare in Mississippi have been directed towards extraneous projects, such as the construction of a sports stadium.

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“Mississippi gave millions of dollars of welfare funds to former NFL quarterback Brett Favre to build a volleyball facility for his daughter’s school, but they won’t take federal funds to feed hungry children. Because helping poor kids is the kind of welfare that Republicans hate,” stated Keith Boykin on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Governor Reeves is among 15 Republican governors who have declined participation in the federally funded food program designed to assist in feeding children during the summer, as The New York Times reported. Other states opting out of the program include Alabama, Oklahoma, Alaska, Florida, South Carolina, South Dakota, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.

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Over 8 million children are set to be excluded from the federal food assistance program, amounting to $2.5 billion in aid for families qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Alongside Governor Reeves, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared in December that Iowa would not participate in the program.

ALSO READ: Mississippi Middle School Under Fire for Offering Shapewear to Female Students to Help Them Deal with Negative Body Image

Governor Reynolds contended that the federal assistance program was not a “long-term” solution, expressing skepticism about its effectiveness. She further argued that an EBT card” “does nothing to promote nutrition at a time when childhood obesity has become an epidemic.”

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, who has similarly rejected federal funding, was reported by The Washington Post to have stated that he does not” “believe in welfare.”

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