Program is a proven tool for reducing childhood hunger
Washington, D.C., July 11, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with states and territories across the country, is working with urgency to provide food benefits for the summer months to eligible children. As of July 8, 27 states and territories, including Puerto Rico, are set up to provide these benefits to an estimated 13 million children.
“For far too long, millions of families have struggled to keep their kids fed and healthy during the summer while schools are out,” said Cindy Long, administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “Child food benefits can bridge the gap and help families provide the nourishment their children deserve. These benefits can help American families in need cope with rising food costs.”
States with approved plans to issue electronic benefit transfer, commonly known as EBT, for children over the summer include:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
USDA is actively working with all states to help them participate in the program and be able to offer these food benefits to children.
Children are eligible for this temporary nutrition benefit, known as Summer P-EBT, if they receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year, or if they are under age six and live in a household receiving SNAP benefits. The benefits are loaded onto a debit-type card that can be used to purchase food. Families of eligible children typically receive $391 per child for the summer, with higher rates for families in Alaska, Hawaii, and the territories.
There is strong evidence that providing families with summer child food benefits has positive impacts, such as:
- Decreasing by one-third the number of households with children who do not always have enough to eat;
- Reaching children across diverse geographical areas – including difficult-to-reach rural populations;
- Increasing consumption of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy.
Here are other resources for families seeking food assistance for children in their household:
- The USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder helps families quickly and easily find summer meal sites near them, where children can eat meals at no-cost.
- The USDA National Hunger Hotline, operated by Hunger Free America, connects people with food assistance in their nearby communities. The hotline can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) (for English) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) (for Spanish).
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.
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