More than 1,600 People from 125 different Utah cities and towns signed the petition
June 29, 2020—Salt Lake City, Utah Today Democratic Candidate for Governor Chris Peterson delivered to Governor Herbert and Lt. Governor Cox a petition calling on the state of Utah to immediately accept approximately $50 million of temporary emergency food benefits. 1,650 Utahns signed the petition demanding the Governor protect Utah’s hungry children by applying for funding available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.
Under the act, states may apply for and receive temporary food benefits for at-risk families during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of Utahns are currently out of work and many families are struggling to buy groceries. Unfortunately, Utah has decided not to request approximately $50 million of this available money to feed Utah’s at-risk children.
While 46 states and the District of Columbia are now operating a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) emergency food aid program for hungry kids, Utah continues to refuse to apply for the funding. Unlike Utah—Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming have now all implemented Pandemic EBT programs to help their families facing hunger.
“While other states are stepping up to distribute these funds, in Utah our state leaders are turning their backs on funding to feed kids during a time of extraordinary economic hardship,” Peterson said. “The same leaders who tried to increase taxes on food last year are now refusing to implement a plan to accept $50 million in food benefits for hungry kids.”
The Pandemic EBT program provides more than $1 billion in grants for states to provide prepaid food benefit cards to hungry families to buy food from grocery stores for their children. The program provides food aid in addition to similar SNAP program benefits, but was intended to reach more families struggling during the economic recession caused by the Coronavirus pandemic
The petition included Utahns from 150 different Utah cities, towns, or counties. In addition, hundreds of petitioners included comments explaining their support for accepting Pandemic EBT funding. These comments included:
- Children’s wellbeing must be a priority. We are all better off if the children among us are well cared for.
- In rural UT most families have to travel 2-3 miles to shop for groceries once a month & hope food last for a month. With the virus it has been it has been a hardship & many have resorted to nearby food banks as well as donations. Parents are going hungry just to feed their children.
- Many Utah children rely on schools for the meals each day and then the backpack food program to bridge the school gaps. Access to food is not something we should even consider as an option. We have a responsibility to ensure our children have access to food and do not experience food insecurity.
- Being largely hospitality industry dependent, Grand County Utah has been the hardest hit job loss area of Utah. With an employee low wage demographic, many with children, the need is here now. We call on you to immediately apply for and administer the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer funds without further delay.
- It seems like so many families fall through the cracks because of so many rules. Food is not a luxury!
- Why would these officials deny food to our hungry children?! I’ve worked with abused and neglected children my entire career if 30 years as an attorney. This action defies all conscious for this underserved population-But then, children don’t vote, do they?
- I drive a school bus and I see those children that need food.
- I’ve lived with food insecurity before. It’s inexcusable that any child in Utah, the greateststate in the nation, should have to do the same.
- I use to be a lunch lady. I saw how many kids went hungry and how much food we threwaway. Why are we letting children go hungry? Take the money and feed these children.
- People are digging up their gardens from fear of starvation. Shame.
- Many of these children’s parents employment had ended either furloughed or terminated.Don’t be lazy file the paperwork and get it done!
- Elected officials who tread on the backs of the poor, young, hungry people of our countryneed to humbled by removal from office. If they were the hungry ones, they would not object to Federal involvement. Too many of us in UT do not know the secret handshake that gets the “more equal people” whatever they need to get by.
- Food security is an important issue in Utah and ALL resources available should be levered.
- My daughter is a 4th grade school teacher in Hurricane, Utah. She has told us on multiple occasions that her estimate is 30% of her students are food deficient. Why are we turning down Federal Funding to provide resources for these kids?
- I cannot begin to imagine why you reject the funds that could assist many of Utah’s children who are going hungry. … Matthew 25:35 says: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me”, and 25:41 says ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ By the way, these passages appear under the heading “Judgment of the nations” in my scriptures.
- The demand on food banks has been overwhelming. Children are going hungry. In the time of a budget deficit, we should not be turning away federal funds.
- Among all the issues we face in today’s world, children going hungry should not be one of them.
“We should not play politics with hungry families during a time of crisis,” Peterson said. “Instead, we should use this emergency funding to help feed needy families and at the same time spark our struggling economy.”