(TheConservativeTimes.org) – The United States Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday that almost 21 million students would be getting food benefits this summer.
The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer Program, or Summer EBT, is a new permanent federal program that many have decided to take advantage of. Those that have opted in include 35 different states, all 5 U.S Territories, and four tribes. The states that did not opt into this program will have the opportunity to opt in for Summer 2025.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke out about their new program by saying, “They certainly shouldn’t go hungry because they lose access to nutritious school meals during the summer months.”
The USDA had tested this program over a couple of years before in December 2022, they said that it would be a permanent program starting in 2024. The USDA revealed in an October report that 17 million households in the United States had trouble finding enough food in the year 2022. In 2021, this number was at 13.5 million.
For this program, families will receive $40 per child in the household for the summer, and the benefits amount will be loaded onto their card. This can be used at any store where regular SNAP benefits would be accepted.
The USDA states that they can expect to provide a total of $2.5 billion in grocery benefits in 2024 to children in need.
Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke out on the new program by saying, “I think we’re seeing a lot of pressures on households in terms of rent or other housing costs, all of that hitting very finite household budgets. This puts a dent in that overall problem by empowering parents to just simply be able to go out and purchase more food and some healthy options that are available.”
Among the states that chose not to opt in are Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming. Only three of the states – Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma- stated that they did not opt-in because of other programs they have in place that feed children through the summer.
With this being said, all 50 states offer a Summer Food Service Program already that provides sites where kids can eat for free.
Copyright 2024, TheConservativeTimes.org