Controversial pandemic food payments to begin November 15


More than $ 1 billion in federal pandemic food assistance will begin hitting electronic benefit transfer cards for needy families from Nov. 15, according to a request the State Department of Children and Youth the family submitted Thursday.

The state has 2.7 million children eligible for food aid payments, which will amount to $ 375 per child. Three installments in addition to the full payment will be issued over 30 days starting in mid-November, according to the DCF app provided on Friday afternoon.

“Florida is working to speed up the schedule as quickly as possible,” a statement said. Mallory mcmanus, spokesperson for DCF.

Florida was one of the last to ask for unconditional aid, but became available in April. And the delay in getting it to families has become a fierce talking point for the state agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running to replace Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.

She sent a letter publicly calling on her to complete the application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on August 25.

“I am relieved that families in Florida can finally access this benefit to help pay for food for their children,” Fried said in a statement Friday evening. “It’s too bad it took weeks of effort for my department and anti-hunger advocates across the state to convince Governor DeSantis to do something so easy that will help so many families. “

Initially, the The governor’s office said help was not needed.

Unlike some other states, schools in Florida were open for in-person instruction, where free and discounted lunches are served, said Christina pushaw, spokesperson for the governor. She also said needy children could have gotten food at Summer BreakSpots, which Fried’s department provides.

The DCF spokeswoman said the request for Florida families to get the direct payments had finally been made, “to fill any gaps left by the Summer Breakspot program.”

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said there were more Summer BreakSpots last summer and feeding more children than in the past. While an average summer sees 14 to 16 million meals served on-site, the department was able to serve 18.5 million meals and opened another 1,400 meal sites across the state, according to a press release.

The app announced on Friday may not be the last Fried has talked about in food aid payments.

“My department and I are now eagerly awaiting her (DeSantis) request for nutritional assistance available for this current school year,” she said.

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