FLORIDA, USA — After weeks of controversy that became a political issue between Gov. Ron DeSantis and one of his potential rivals in the 2022 gubernatorial election, Florida children are set to receive more than $1 billion in federal relief funding.
State Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said Florida’s plan for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer funding was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The program will give a one-time grant of $375 per child to each family that qualifies.
The program was created last year by Congress to assist children who lost access to free and reduced school lunch in the wake of the transition to virtual instruction.
In September, there was a growing list of signatures from people calling on the governor's attention when Florida was one of the few states that did not apply for the program.
One in five kids in Duval County doesn't have reliable access to food, Feeding America reports. Of the food insecure children in Duval, more than 30% are likely not eligible for federal nutrition programs.
During the pandemic, the number of Hispanic and Black families without enough food to eat surged in 2020.