April 16, 2020
Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland (SOCF) is one of several statewide health, education and child advocacy organizations calling for the DeWine Administration to act swiftly to submit a plan to the USDA to provide additional money for food for families with children who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
This effort aligns with SOCF’s longtime focus on the social determinants of health, especially in areas of food access among vulnerable populations.
The press release from Children’s Defense Fund Ohio is reposted below.
Ohio Cannot Wait Any Longer to Submit a Plan to the USDA for Pandemic-EBT
COLUMBUS – State and local advocacy organizations focusing on children, health, education, nutrition and low income communities issued a joint letter to the DeWine Administration calling for the administration to swiftly submit a plan to the USDA for Pandemic- EBT (P-EBT), which would provide much needed relief to Ohio’s children and families.
The letter explains that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 allows states to submit a plan to the USDA to provide short-term benefit increases under a Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program. The program would provide additional benefits to both SNAP and non-SNAP households with children who receive free or reduced-price school meals, if their school will be or has been closed for at least 5 consecutive days during a public health emergency. The household allotment amount will be at least the value of school meals at the free rate for each eligible child in the household, or about $114 a month per child.
At least fourteen states, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia have already submitted plans to and many other states plan to submit soon. Both Michigan and Rhode Island’s P-EBT plans have been approved by the USDA. The letter encourages Ohio to follow suit to assist Ohio families struggling to keep food on the table. During the 2019-2020 school year, 4 in 10 Ohio students, 717,740 Ohio children, received free or reduced priced lunch. P-EBT would provide an estimated additional $81,000,000 each month in food assistance going directly to Ohio’s children and families. This benefit would be in addition to the free meals served at schools and community centers across the state.
Rachel Cahill, MPA, Policy and Advocacy Consultant for the Center for Community Solutions, explained “Congress understood in early March that long-term school closings could lead to widespread child hunger. Pandemic-EBT was designed to be an extremely efficient way to ensure all Ohio school children have access to school meals at home.”
The letter to the administration, which is signed by several organizations, including the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS), Advocates for Ohio’s Future, the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County, UHCAN Ohio, the Center for Community Solutions, United way of Greater Cleveland, Local Matters, Groundwork Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Children’s Hunger Alliance, The George Gund Foundation, and Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, expresses appreciation to the administration for submitting a plan for emergency SNAP allotments, but urges the state to act quickly to submit a plan for P-EBT. The letter goes on to state “Ohio families are struggling with a number of challenges to meet basic needs, the ability to put food on the table should not be one. The Pandemic-EBT program is available for all states, including Ohio. We urge you not to wait. Families need this relief now.”
The full statement can be found here: https://cdfohio.org/wpcontent/uploads/sites/6/2020/04/Pandemic-EBT-Letter-of-Support-FINAL4.16.2020.pdf