Bart Pfankuch follows up on South Dakota’s ridiculous grandstanding against federal funding for summer food aid for kids and gets another reticent state official to say why the Noem Administration found participating in USDA’s Pandemic EBT program too stringy:
When asked to explain the administrative challenges surrounding the program, Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Van Der Weide said the state found it difficult to obtain enough information about children to administer the program effectively, even though the state did participate in Pandemic EBT in 2020 and 2021. DOE and the Department of Social Services were responsible for applying to the program.
“Implementing the program was difficult because South Dakota is a state that prioritizes local control more than most states,” Van Der Weide, who also declined an interview request, wrote to News Watch in an email.
“Because of this, information about individual students is not shared to state government entities en masse. This made it very difficult for the state government to get enough details to adequately administer the program” [Bart Pfankuch, “South Dakota Rejects Federal Food Funding Despite 25,000 Children Going Hungry,” South Dakota News Watch, 2023.08.20].
Hunger-fighter Cathy Brechtelsbauer of Bread for the World is properly flabbergasted:
“Our kids in South Dakota are missing out on $7.5 million worth of food, and it’s not like they’re necessarily getting it someplace else,” she said. “This is like taking food away from kids, and I hope we don’t want to be that kind of state.”
…Brechtelsbauer was shocked that the state was rejecting federal money based on perceived challenges in administering the program.
“That just blows my mind,” she said. “How can we think like that when we’re talking about kids needing food? Why can’t we handle things as well as 43 other states?” [Pfankuch, 2023.08.20].
A generation ago, Governor George Mickelson said something about how if the federal government was going to rain money, we ought to put out our buckets. But those Mickelson Republicans were a more practical lot. Now South Dakota’s one-party regime puts political posturing over practical problem-solving.
Related Reading: KXLG reports the Watertown Salvation Army served 1,300 meals and handed out 223 boxes of food to 542 hungry people in July.