Florida Policy Institute: Update of Summer P-EBT for LMI Households in Florida

October 1, 2021

While there is a lot going on in the world of Florida policy, it is imperative to pause and celebrate a significant win for children and families that would not have happened without a dedicated coalition of over 80 community-based organizations, nonprofits, and anti-hunger advocates across the state.

When Governor Ron DeSantis and the Department of Children and Families (DCF), in a reversal of earlier comments, indicated that Florida would be applying for Summer P-EBT, a program initially expected to net $820 million in federal funding to help feed 2.1 million low-income children, it was testament to the importance of focusing efforts and messaging on what matters most: the impact of the policy on Florida’s children. 

As background, back in August, FPI, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Feeding Tampa Bay, No Kid Hungry, and Florida Impact cautioned that the Sunshine State had not yet applied for Summer P-EBT, one of only a handful of states that had not taken action. Soon after, the Safety Net Advocacy Coalition (SNAC) activated more than 80 organizations, who signed a letter to Governor DeSantis and DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris asking that the state reconsider bowing out of the program.

Several of these organizations also activated their own networks of affected families, faith and business leaders, and medical experts, and the issue received widespread media coverage in Florida, including in the Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Sentinel, and several editorial boards published pieces urging the state to take action.

Just one month after a handful of groups first sounded the alarm, Florida announced that it planned to run a Summer P-EBT program, and earlier today, media reported that the United States Department of Agriculture had approved over $1 billion in federal dollars for the state’s Summer P-EBT program.

The push for Summer P-EBT is one of many issues taken up by SNAC, a project of FPI, which is a group for community advocates across Florida to learn, share ideas, and collaborate to defend and strengthen safety net programs in Florida. SNAC provides a monthly newsletter, access to state and national experts, webinars to expand on relevant topics, and space to participate in collective strategy and action. Members can share policy information with their networks and uplift safety net challenges or solutions from community members with direct experience using safety net programs.

If you are interested in receiving future communications and resources from SNAC, including opportunities to advocate for the safety net policy changes that are most urgent to your community, email Amber Nixon at nixon@floridapolicy.org

For additional reading on this topic, check out, “Summer P-EBT Victory Shows That Engaged Floridians Can Effect Real Change,” a recent blog post by FPI’s Cindy Huddleston.