LINCOLN–(Nebraska Examiner Dec. 20)–Gov. Jim Pillen’s administration has decided that Nebraska won’t be participating in a new national child nutrition program that could have delivered an estimated $18 million in grocery-buying benefits next summer to kids and their families.

The decision comes despite a months-long effort by food banks and other advocates to persuade the governor to opt into the Summer EBT program. States across the nation face a Jan. 1 deadline to let the federal government know if they intend to be part of the summer electronic benefits transfer program.

A spokesperson for Pillen told the Nebraska Examiner free meals will be available for youths during the summer through USDA and summer camp programs, schools and community centers.