Georgia opts out of Summer Food Service Program. What this means for low-income kids

Georgia opts out of Summer Food Service Program. What this means for low-income kids

Governor Kemp’s office has announced that Georgia will not participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children (Summer EBT). These programs are federally funded and state-administered. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the government reimburses organizations that provide no-cost meals to low-income children and teens.

“This federal COVID-era EBT program not only lacks basic nutritional requirements and sustainability but fails to address the mission of improving the health and wellness of our children,” said Kemp spokesman Garrison Douglas.

A recent study of Georgia’s food stamp recipients showed that Muscogee County ranks number 14 out of 159 counties in the state. Of the over 100,000 residents, 14,300 are food stamp recipients, with over 50 percent of recipients having children in their households.

A 2022 study shows that around 66 percent of the population’s children (age 17 and under) fall below the poverty level. The Muscogee County poverty level increased from 18.7 percent in 2018 to 22 percent in 2022 — roughly twice the national average of 12.7 percent.

As the poverty level continues to rise, though we have opted out of this program, there are other local resources to aid families and children in gaining access to food, including food pantries and local church organizations. A list of local resources can be found here.

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