In 2022, Gov. Greg Gianforte faced criticism for the delay in applying for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) funding, which would have provided up to $10 million in food assistance to over 73,000 Montana children and families. After weeks of public pressure, Gianforte finally submitted an application to the federal government.
However, instead of investing the received funds in Main Street Montana, the Gianforte administration has taken actions that hinder vulnerable Montanans from accessing the necessities they need to survive, such as food, opportunity, and hope. This neglectful approach has serious consequences.
According to federal law, if the funds are not distributed by Sept. 30, 2023, Montana will lose the opportunity to utilize federal funds to establish a summer benefit system for children and families in the state. By denying these funds, not only are small businesses affected, but also the over 750 stores that accept P-EBT, as they would benefit from millions of dollars in economic growth. It’s evident that P-EBT funds can serve as an economic catalyst while simultaneously providing crucial services to those who need them the most. When we invest in our communities to ensure basic needs are met, individuals feel less trapped, and we build a better Montana together.
Montanans can’t wait any longer. That’s why a coalition of over 40 advocates, including the Montana Food Bank Network, the American Cancer Society, churches and charitable organizations, are urging the governor to distribute these critical funds. I wholeheartedly support this coalition, and I encourage you to do the same. Take action by emailing and calling the Gov. Gianforte’s office to express your concern and demand the release of the funds. Let him know that distributing the funds would not only meet a moral standard of kindness and decency, but also show compassion towards the most vulnerable members of our society – our children.
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