Montana is accepting federal {dollars} to feed school-age kids subsequent summer time

After not accepting matching funds to feed hungry kids final summer time, Montana has modified course, and about 170,000 kids can have a greater likelihood of having fun with full stomachs this coming summer time within the Treasure State.

Montana is opting to take part within the federal Summer season Digital Profit Switch (Summer season EBT) program beginning in June 2024, after Democrats decried the state’s determination to not settle for related funds final summer time.

The state beforehand selected to not apply for $10 million via the Pandemic Digital Profit Switch (P-EBT) program in July, with the Division of Public Well being and Human Providers citing a “vital administrative burden for what was meant to be a brief program.” “A Every day Montanan spokesperson beforehand stated.

However DPHHS on Thursday introduced a partnership with the Workplace of Public Instruction to offer meals to school-age kids in the summertime months.

Rep. Laura Smith, D-Helena, who spoke at a rally on the Capitol and urged the state to simply accept P-EBT funds over the summer time, stated in an announcement that Thursday’s determination is lengthy overdue.

“It is time the governor stood up for our state’s hungry kids, particularly after rejecting $10 million final summer time that will have fed 50,000 kids in communities throughout the state,” Smith stated. “Montana Democrats and other people in our communities have urged this administration to cease taking part in political video games on the expense of Montana’s kids. “We’re glad they lastly listened.”

Final summer time, OPI ran an identical USDA-funded program referred to as the Summer season Meals Service Program that gives meals to high school kids in designated areas, however Democrats on the rally in July stated it wasn’t sufficient.

The Summer season EBT program supplies grocery retailer money to low-income households with school-age kids when faculties are closed for the summer time. Beginning in summer time 2024, households will obtain $40 per eligible baby throughout the summer time months of June, July and August, in line with the DPHHS announcement.

USDA analysis discovered this system decreased the variety of kids experiencing low meals safety by a 3rd and helps wholesome diets, the division stated.

“The summer time EBT program is one other device households can use when college doorways are closed,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen stated in an announcement. “I stay up for this continued partnership with DPHHS as our companies efficiently implement related applications resembling Medicaid Direct certification.”

DPHHS stated it has notified the USDA’s Meals and Vitamin Service of the state’s need to take part, and can have till February 15 to submit a program administration plan.

DPHHS is the lead company for this system and can concern EBT playing cards, handle card utilization, examine buyer fraud complaints, and oversee price range and program reporting to FNS.

OPI will create and handle the applying course of, confirm eligibility, and deal with buyer communications.

The Summer season EBT program is for college kids who qualify totally free and reduced-price meals via the Nationwide College Lunch Program (NSLP) and College Breakfast Program (SBP), roughly 170,000 college students in Montana.

College students eligible for this system embody kids who:

– Attend an NSLP/SBP taking part college and have been licensed as eligible totally free or reduced-price college meals.

– Attend a neighborhood eligibility provision college taking part within the NSLP/SBP and be straight accredited.

– Attending an NSLP/SBP taking part college however not being accredited by both software or direct certification and being accredited by software.

-Don’t attend an NSLP/SBP taking part college however can acquire a direct certificates.

– Households with kids attending an NSLP and SBP college who should not at the moment receiving free or reduced-price meal advantages however wish to take part in Summer season EBT ought to contact their college about finishing an software.

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