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USDA Requests Applications for Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Demonstrations
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today has invited States to apply for an opportunity to test household-based methods of delivering nutrition assistance to low-income children during the summer. USDA is requesting applications to conduct demonstrations using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) technology to deliver food benefits to families of children who are certified for free and reduced-price school meals.
"Our efforts to combat hunger don't end on the last day of the school year and that is why we must work to ensure access to nutrition assistance for children, when and where they need it, particularly during the summer months when we know children struggle to receive the nutrition they need," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
One of the most important tools that State and Federal governments have to address child nutrition is the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which enriches the lives of millions of low-income children during the summer, both by making nutritious food available and by providing resources that support summer education and recreation programs. USDA has a long history of partnership with States, local community organizations, and others to strengthen and expand participation in SFSP.
The next phase of the project will demonstrate and assess the feasibility of delivering summer food benefits to school children using existing EBT technology. Selected states will be given funds to test household-based methods of delivering nutrition assistance to low-income children during the summer, using the Special Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) EBT technology as the delivery mechanism. These demonstrations will provide low-income families with children more resources to use at food stores during the summer. They will also provide USDA with critical knowledge about the impact of cutting-edge nutrition interventions on achieving real progress in the fight against hunger among our children during the summer months. The ultimate objective is to reduce the level of summer food insecurity among children to a level at or below that of childhood food insecurity during the school year.
Applications are due October 29, 2010 and may be submitted by hand delivery, mail, or electronically using the federal grants website: www.grants.gov.
The program is currently testing new and innovative methods to expand access and promote participation when school is out. Earlier this year, Congress provided $85 million to demonstrate improved approaches to summer feeding for low-income children, and to assess their impact on food insecurity among children. The Department is using this resource to create the Summer Food for Children project, designed to strengthen the existing summer program and to look for new approaches that can get food to children who are not easily reached by the current program. Projects to enhance the SFSP in Arkansas and Mississippi were launched this summer.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs including the Summer Food Service Program, SNAP, WIC, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the National School Lunch Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net. USDA administers these programs in partnership with State and local agencies and works with faith- and community-based organizations to ensure that nutrition assistance is available to those in need. Additional information about the Summer Food Service Program can be found at www.fns.usda.gov.
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