The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new effort on Monday that will feed more than 30 million children over the summer by expanding the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits funded by President Joe Biden‘s American Rescue Plan.
P-EBT was established in March 2020 to provide food dollars to families to make up for meals missed when schools have closed due to COVID-19.
The program was set to expire on September 30, 2021, but through the American Rescue Plan Act, benefits are now available for the duration of the pandemic, including during the summer months.
“The expansion of P-EBT benefits over the summer is a first-of-its-kind, game-changing intervention to reduce child hunger in the United States,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By providing low-income families with a simple benefit over the summer months, USDA is using an evidenced-based solution to drive down hunger and ensure no child has to miss a meal.”
Children are eligible for this temporary nutrition benefit – loaded onto an EBT card that can then be used to purchase food – if they are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year or if they are under age six and live in a SNAP household. Families of eligible children typically receive $6.82 per child, per weekday, or roughly $375 per child over the summer months.
“Help is here for financially stressed families trying to put food on the table,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “Our nutrition assistance programs are powerful tools that are critical to America reaching a full and equitable recovery from the pandemic.”