Georgia Families Struggle to Buy Food During Summer as Kemp Rejects EBT Funding for Low-Income Kids

June 6, 2024

Kemp opted out of the Summer EBT program in January, and with the school year ending, Georgia families struggle to put food on the table

Georgia families who rely on free and reduced-cost school lunches are struggling to buy food as summer approaches after Brian Kemp rejected federal funding to help Georgia families provide food for their children over the summer. 

The Summer EBT program helps families pay for groceries during the months when schools are not in session, and would have provided an estimated $138 million in federal funding for Georgia.  

Governor Kemp’s rejection of federal funding – which would have benefited more than one million children who now remain at risk of going hungry – cost Georgia families $120 per child.

Read the story from WABE below:

WABE: Georgia families struggle to buy food during summer as state declines to extend enhanced benefits
Stanley Dunlap, 6/6/2024


  • Thousands of low-income families in Georgia began receiving emergency pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits that provided extra food assistance for days that schools were closed during the 2019-2020 school year. The program would continue to be available during the summer months when an extra $40 per child in monthly food assistance allowed parents to purchase groceries while school was on break.

  • Georgia is among 14 states that no longer provide the federal benefit that has now become a permanent program for the first time.

  • As the mother of a 3-year-old boy and a 12-year-old daughter, Marshall has been relying on her husband and roommates to help her get by financially since moving to a neighboring community. The family currently makes just enough money to earn above the 130% of the federal poverty line needed to get an EBT card.

  • She said it’s crucial that Georgia officials make sure families who rely on free meals throughout the school year get an extra $80 per month during the summer.

  • “I really wish that they were in more touch with those of us that are living with food insecurity who are worrying about how we’re going to make rent and have to pay bills versus what food we can buy,” Marshall said. “Because they’re out of touch with that, they don’t understand the struggle.”

  • […] Georgia became one of the states that ceased to provide enhanced SNAP benefits following the 2023 summer after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp declined to apply for an extension.

  • The program allowed the parents and guardians of 1.1 million kids who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches across the state to get an extra $290 million in food assistance. The final year of the Georgia program was opened up to SNAP-enrolled children five years and younger.

  • The federal program was first expanded in 2020 as part of the American Rescue Act, but there were bureaucratic hiccups along the way. Putting together a plan for the added pandemic while aid agencies also handled other assistance programs became a growing burden over the last year, leaving many state SNAP administrators overworked.


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