Rep. Castor: Gov. DeSantis is Taking Food Away from Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) released the following statement on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to reject $248 million in summer food assistance for Florida kids through the federal Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) initiative as nearly half of parents in Florida continue to struggle with food insecurity:

“This is mean and irresponsible. For many working-class families, the only nutritious meal a child receives is at school. Unfortunately, when school is out during the summer, children across Florida frequently lack access to healthy meals. The overwhelmingly successful Summer EBT initiative — which provides grocery-buying benefits to families with school-aged children — has helped to fill this gap and reduce child hunger. 

“Just last year, 47 percent of Florida parents reported difficulties keeping food on the table for their families — a startling reality that has pushed too many families to skip meals or go an entire day without eating. However, instead of confronting this growing crisis, Governor DeSantis will deprive Florida children of nutritious meals.  It’s cruel and unnecessary.

“Governor DeSantis is putting Florida families at a disadvantage yet again due to his extreme politics by rejecting $248 million that would benefit approximately 2 million children across the state. He has turned his back on families and children and, again, failed to bring our tax dollars back to Florida. DeSantis’ short-sighted, reckless, and downright cruel rejection of this funding will take food away from children and risk significant harm to the health and well-being of children throughout the state.”

Last month, Castor and other members of the Florida Democratic Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Governor DeSantis urging the state to immediately apply for the federal Summer EBT initiative before the January 1, 2024 deadline. Governor DeSantis failed to meet that deadline.