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Taxpayers debate: Should Easter baskets be eligible for EBT card purchase?

Facebook debate:  Should Easter baskets be EBT eligible?
Courtesy of Nan Thompson, used with permission

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are under hot debate. Politicians and citizens are at odds as to who should receive them and how they should be used. According to a Sunday report in the Sun Journal, the state of Maine is one of several narrowing the list of places EBT benefits can be used in an effort to reduce fraud. However, there is still much disagreement when it comes to what the assistance should be used to purchase.

Nan Thompson of north Florida was surprised to see a sticker indicating EBT eligibility on Easter baskets in her local Dollar General Store last week. The baskets contain a small toy and assortment of candy and fruit snacks for $8. Thompson snapped a picture and put it on Facebook asking her friends for their opinions.

She was shocked when she returned to the post several hours later and saw over 100 responses. The discussion became quite heated. There are currently 163 comments on the photo of the Easter basket.

Thompson and many others feel a basket filled with toys and candy is a luxury item and should not be purchased with government assistance. Jennifer Orr said, “I don't agree with it. There are so many free egg hunts offered within communities so the kids will not be missing out. I think it is a waste of EBT money.”

Social worker Sami Reason agrees that the intention of the card is to meet needs, however, she points out that candy is allowed. She sees no problem with treating kids once in a while. “If the card will help bring a smile to the face of a child who deserves it, who are we to judge?”

Reason said she delivers baskets to the families on her case load, but knows most of them wouldn’t be able to provide treats to their kids otherwise. She said most families don’t abuse EBT, but the ones who do are buying way worse things than Easter baskets.

What are your thoughts? Should EBT cards be used to purchase Easter baskets?

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