Parent Advisory: New Program Will Give Families  Money to Help Pay for Groceries This Summer

14 Republican-led States Chose Politics Over Kids and Opt Out of Program

May 13, 2024 – Families struggling to get food on the table should know that President Biden signed a new law that will give 21 million kids who qualify for free or reduced school meals a pre-loaded EBT card with $120 to help pay for groceries this summer. 

Officially called Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer, the program is designed to help close the summer hunger gap when kids are on break and not getting free or reduced school meals. Families will get $40 a month for each eligible school-age kid to help buy groceries, similar to how SNAP benefits are used. 

Families first started getting summer assistance like this during the pandemic, and said it made a huge difference in helping stretch food budgets during the summer. After millions of parents came together to call for continued free school and summer meals, Congress passed a bill to make the Summer EBT program permanent

If your child is already certified as eligible for free or reduced-price meals through your school district, you shouldn’t have to do anything – the EBT card should come in the mail. But if you’re not sure if you’re certified, want to apply, or need to find out more, contact your school district for more info. 

14 States Say ‘No Thanks’ to Summer Meal Assistance 

Unfortunately, 14 Republican-led states have opted out of the funds, so if you live in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming, the money won’t be available to you this year. 

Why? Well, many of the Governors are just playing politics…and it’s kids who will pay the price. Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa tried to justify forcing kids to go hungry when she said: “An E.B.T. card does nothing to promote nutrition at a time when childhood obesity has become an epidemic.” 

The fact is studies showed that the program led to children eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because the extra money helped families buy healthier foods. 

Families across the country are working to push all Governors to take the federal money and give all kids who qualify access to Summer EBT. And it’s working – Louisiana just reversed course and agreed to take part in the program last week.