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Thursday, April 18, 2024

USDA projects 21 million children to receive summer food assistance from new program by 2024

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that​ nearly 21 million children in the U.S. and its territories will receive food benefits this summer through the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer program (Summer⁤ EBT). This program, which​ has been made permanent, aims to supplement ‍existing​ programs during the summer that have had a more limited reach.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the importance‍ of ensuring‌ that⁢ no‌ child in the country goes hungry, especially during the summer months when access to nutritious school ‍meals may be limited.

Starting in 2024, ​the Summer EBT​ program will be available in 35 ​states, all five U.S. territories, and four tribes.‍ Families with children​ who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches will be⁢ eligible for Summer EBT, ⁤which will cover about 70% of the ​eligible population in its first year.

Eligible families⁢ will receive $40‌ per⁤ month ⁤per child during the summer, totaling $120 ​per child. The‍ money will be loaded onto an EBT card, which can be used at stores that also accept Supplemental Nutrition⁣ Assistance Program benefits.

The USDA estimates that it ⁣will⁤ provide a total of $2.5 billion in grocery benefits in 2024⁤ through the Summer EBT program.

Cherokee ‍National Principal⁣ Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. expressed his support for ​the program, stating that ⁢it will help ‍alleviate the financial pressures faced‍ by households,​ especially in terms of‌ food insecurity.

While some states ⁣have chosen not ‌to participate in the program this summer, the USDA remains committed to ensuring that all children have access to adequate nutrition during the summer months.

Despite the challenges, the USDA is pleased that 35 states, territories, and tribes have opted ⁤into the program, and remains hopeful ⁣that more will join in the future.

The ⁢Associated Press ⁢Health and⁢ Science Department receives ‍support⁣ from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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