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Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Texas Families Lose Out on Summer Food Assistance

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Monday, July 17, 2023   

Many Texas families are still struggling financially post-COVID. Nonetheless, the state turned down millions of dollars in federal aid for summer food assistance to qualified low-income families.

Texas was eligible for federal funds, which would have provided families $120 per month during the summer. The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program aids qualified families whose children receive reduced-price meals or attend schools in low-income areas where all students receive free meals.

Jamie Olson, director of policy and advocacy for Feeding Texas, said the state participated in the pandemic-related program until this summer.

"We know that every summer, childhood hunger spikes because children are not eating the meals that they would normally eat in school," Olson pointed out.

A state Department of Health and Human Services official said Texas is not participating because the school meal and summer food programs have returned to pre-pandemic operations, and the state was unsure it could distribute the funds by a Sept. 30 deadline.

Olson reminded families struggling with food insecurity the state has 21 food banks, covering all 254 counties, listed online at FeedingTexas.org.

While the majority of states are participating in the program this summer, Texas was one of eight refusing to join. A permanent summer program approved by Congress will be in place by next year, and Olson is hopeful Texas will participate. She added the current model has proven to be very effective.

"The benefits are distributed on a debit card; an EBT card that families can use just like cash at their local grocery stores," Olson noted. "That's the way that we should be seeking to feed kids in the summer."

The $436 million available to Texas this summer would have fed 3.6 million school-age children, according to Olson. To participate in next year's summer program, states must notify the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Jan. 1.


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