2023 Spending Bill Passed to Help End Child Summer Hunger

2023 Spending Bill Passed to Help End Child Summer Hunger

April 14, 2023 in Charlie's Corner Harvest Time Newsletter

In December 2022, Congress passed a spending package that created the most significant nationwide anti-hunger program in nearly 50 years – the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program.

The Summer EBT program provides grocery benefits to income-qualified families with children when schools close for the summer. It was created to help cover the gap for children who lose access to free and reduced school meals during the summer.

The bill also grants summer meal providers flexibility to use program models, such as grab-and-go meals, in rural areas to improve access for children facing hunger. The grab-and-go model gives families the flexibility to take meals home instead of having to eat at a set time and place. This can be helpful for working parents who may not be able to bring their children to a feeding site at a specific time.

The child nutrition provisions of the bill are the most extensive, permanent policy changes to help end child summer hunger in more than a generation.

In addition, the omnibus spending bill includes important annual funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other anti-hunger programs.

While these changes are a significant victory to address summer child hunger, we know more advocacy remains ahead to keep all federal nutrition programs strong for the neighbors we serve.

Recent insights from people facing challenges accessing food make it clear that policies to end hunger must increase access and prioritize the dignity of the people they impact. The summer nutrition provisions are examples of centering these values in policymaking.

Thank you for your support and advocacy for our neighbors in need across southwest Missouri.