Yesterday, during a panel discussion at Tri-Cities High School in East Point, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urged Georgians to lobby their state officials to participate in programs set to help feed Georgia children. These programs were in the news earlier this month after Gov. Brian Kemp opted Georgia out of the Summer EBT program, which gives qualifying families $40 a month per eligible child for groceries during the summer months.
Expanding these programs would bring $138 million in federal dollars into the state and benefit 1.1 million eligible Georgia kids.
The State of Georgia laughably claimed they opted out of the federally-funded program because it lacked nutrition requirements, a position seen as completely blind to the hunger experienced by Georgia children. Sec. Vilsack dismantled these claims by Governor Kemp’s office, noting that the USDA has 10 years of data showing these programs give kids greater access to nutritious food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This panel is a perfect encapsulation of the differences between the two parties today,” said DPG spokesperson Alex Yerkey. “On one side, there are Democrats at the federal, state, and local levels working together to bring $138 million to feed hungry children, help Georgia farmers, and create local jobs. And on the other side, you have Governor Kemp just saying no.”
The panel discussion—organized to promote the Biden administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which has a goal to end hunger and increase healthy eating by 2030—also featured Georgia State Representative Carl Gilliard, D-162. Rep. Gilliard said he soon plans to introduce new legislation, dubbed the “No Georgia Child Left Behind” bill, to ensure adequate summer food access for children.
Read the story from AJC below:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: USDA Sec. Vilsack: Year-round school meals help kids, farmers
Jim Gaines, 1/24/2024