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Louisiana and 15 Other States Back Out of the Federal ‘Feeding Program’

In a recently introduced federal program by the US government, which aimed to feed an approximate of 21 million children this upcoming summer across the country, 35 states have agreed to be a part of this initiative, while 15 other states have denied. Louisiana recently declined to join this program.

A spokesperson for the Louisiana state government confirmed on Friday that Louisiana Department of Education has decided to not enroll in the program since this program requires participating states to pool in a significant portion of its resources and the state of Louisiana can’t afford to do that since a new governor and legislature would take the office soon.

Louisiana Out of the Feeding Initiative 

Department spokesman Ted Beasley confirmed that existing meal programs will remain functional for educational year 2024. However, Beasley confirmed that Louisiana has not completely outed themselves from the program. The state of Louisiana has permission to enter the program beyond January 1, 2024, and if the circumstances remain favorable, there is a possibility that Louisiana could join this program in the future.

The existing meal programs offered through this initiative include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), SNAP for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Summer Food Service Program and additional meals through the USDA’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO).

Ian Fury, spokesperson for South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was quoted saying that: “Federal money often comes with strings attached, and more of it is often not a good thing.” Fury also said that apart from changes in state’s administration, low employment rates, and existing food programs in the state were other reasons why the state of Louisiana has declined to join the initiative.

In addition to this, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds also issued an official statement, addressing her opposition to the initiative, stated that the federal initiative doesn’t have any restrictions on what types of foods families can buy, which has been a cause of concern within some individuals since the goal of the initiative is to give children across the country, access to nutritional foods.

Furthermore, Reynolds also said that participating in this initiative would cost the state an approximate of $2.2 million, a strain that the state of Iowa can’t currently undertake.

Independent Approach 

Although the state of Louisiana is not participating in the initiative, the state government has taken its own measures to help children in need.

According to figures released by Louisiana state government, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has, in total, disbursed $65.5 million in P-EBT aid last June and July, with each child being allocated approximately $120 for the period.

Although media houses and organizations had reached out to the department for confirming the number of benefits that were actually distributed amongst the citizens, no official comment had been released.

In addition to this, the permanent USDA program implemented in the state will give an additional $40 in June and July for each school-going child, and an approximate of $120 per family in order to buy essentials like groceries and other basic necessities.

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