33 Florida lawmakers ask DeSantis to apply for federal benefits to help feed children

More than 30 Florida lawmakers want to help struggling families affected by the ongoing pandemic. News4Jax reporter Marilyn Parker spoke with the Jacksonville representative who wrote a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 30 Florida lawmakers say they want to help struggling families impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) said Florida families are missing out on money that would help fed children, so she and 32 other lawmakers wrote a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to apply for federal funds right now.

The federal government’s Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer is helping families everywhere. The program lets eligible school children get funds on EBT cards to buy food.

Florida had this program last year, but funding stopped this June. Nixon is now urging DeSantis to apply for the program again.

“Many of us know that, unfortunately, there are a lot of kids in the state of Florida, that are suffering from poverty,” Nixon said. “And so oftentimes, the only meal that they do get happens to be at school. And so these benefits, this funding would actually help them because their parents would actually be able to go and purchase food and put food on the table. And it’s very unfortunate that governor DeSantis is the only governor in the entire United States that has not applied for this funding.”

Nixon said families are missing out on $375 a month, which she says could make a difference.

She and 32 of her colleagues across the state signed this letter to the governor that reads “children in the state of Florida shouldn’t go hungry because of partisan politics. Child hunger is not a partisan issue, and the children of Florida are its future.”

News4Jax reached out to the governor’s office for comment but we haven’t heard back yet.

While it’s a problem across the state, Nixon said she’s seeing it in her district as well.

“There are folks that are calling me saying that they’re still locked out of the unemployment system. I have constituents that are saying, they’re on disability. So these funds were actually helping them with their kids and with our students as well,” Nixon said.

Nixon sent the letter on Friday. She said she hasn’t heard from the Governor’s office yet.

She said she plans to get more signatures from leaders across the state and is even drafting a petition to put out this week for her constituents to sign to get the governor to apply for these funds.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad