Nice Time: California Gonna Feed Some Hungry Kids
Somehow, 40 percent of people who filed for unemployment claims in Florida were denied benefits. That's horrific, and we'll yell at Florida later. Right now we want to praise a state with a mammal governor that's done something decent.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that low-income families will soon receive up to $365 per child as part of a pandemic EBT program. According to the California Department of Social Services, about 3.8 million children rely on free or reduced-cost lunch from school cafeterias. That's almost an entire Oklahoma of poor kids.
“Food insecurity" for children was a serious problem before the pandemic, but the number of Californians who are now seeking food assistance has increased by 60 percent since the state economy was cancelled.
California to provide more food benefits to families during coronavirus crisis www.youtube.com
The $365 is in addition to benefits from California's food stamps program, CalFresh. It's automatic for CalFresh recipients whose children currently receive free or reduced-cost meals. Families not already on food stamps can apply online. The Trump administration has threatened to revoke the legal status of immigrants who apply for the aid because they are monsters.
NEWSOM: Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink. [W]e want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.
Effective Tuesday, CalFresh recipients can also use their EBT cards to purchase food online through Amazon and Walmart. This is a smart move that helps poor families comply with the state's stay-at-home order and limit in-person trips to the grocery store or farmers' markets, where their debit cards were previously accepted. This will positively impact about 2.2 million households or more than 4 million people.
Kim Johnson, director of the California Department of Social Services, said the plan is to include more retailers in the program.
Newsom estimates that the initiative will cost about $1.8 billion in federal funds. Don't worry, California is good for it. The program is scheduled to end June 12, and Newsom suggested Wednesday that schools could physically reopen — in a drastically different format — as soon as July. [Rebecca for one is not buying it.] This is to combat both learning loss and potential parental insanity.
The governor gave a shout out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her work in making the pandemic EBT program possible. Our badass lady in charge ain't just whistling fancy ice cream. She's helping deliver for those most in need in her state.
What time is it? It's OPEN THREAD!
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).