Controversy Swirls Over Ice Cream and EBT Cards - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Controversy Swirls Over Ice Cream and EBT Cards

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Ice cream was a popular item, this summer day at the New England Slush Company in Cranston.

But, some in the community are a bit frosted after finding out you can buy the cold treats with an EBT card.

"Having a benefit like this for ice cream for two dollars a scoop when you can buy a half gallon for two dollars at a grocery store, just seems to be an abuse to the taxpayer," said Sean Gately, a local community activist.

Gately, who has run for public office a few times, says the law needs to be changed, to allow such purchases at grocery stores only.

That way taxpayers - and consumers - get more bang for their buck.

The Rhode Island House tried to limit EBT purchases this year, but the bill died in the Senate.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "As distasteful as some people may find it, we checked the federal EBT guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture. And since ice cream qualifies as food, it is perfectly legal to buy with an EBT card."

But this ice cream store makes it clear; it will only sell the cold treats on the cash benefits portion of an EBT card, not the food stamp credits.

Unless the law changes, customers are welcome to pay for ice cream with EBT.

"I believe that everybody deserves some kind of treat at the end of the day, no matter if they are underprivileged or not. It should be okay. There shouldn't be an argument about any of it," said Crystal Larkin, whose boyfriend owns New England Slush Company.

Everyone we saw paid with cash, but EBT is still legal, and welcome here.
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