U.S.

White House to provide summer grocery money to 21 million kids

The new program works like SNAP benefits, and gives families $120 per eligible child for summer grocery shopping.

Students eating lunch in the cafeteria in New Mexico.
Students eating lunch in a school cafeteria in New Mexico.
Susan Montoya Bryan / AP
SMS

This summer, a new government program is expected to give food assistance to around 21 million kids in the United States and its territories.

On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that 35 states, all five U.S. territories, and four tribes have chosen to participate in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program, known as Summer EBT.

According to the USDA, this new program will work like SNAP benefits, giving families $120 per eligible child for summer food shopping, and totaling around $2.5 billion for groceries to help about 70% of those eligible for Summer EBT.

17 million households suffer from food insecurity, USDA says
17 million households suffer from food insecurity, USDA says

17 million households suffer from food insecurity, USDA says

The report from the Department of Agriculture says 3.3 million of the households experiencing food insecurity have children.

LEARN MORE

“Summer grocery benefits are becoming a reality for many communities across the nation and for tens of millions of children who will receive the nutrition they need to grow, learn, and thrive,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. “We applaud all the leaders and partners who are stepping up to make the program’s inaugural year a success. Together we’re making progress in closing the summer hunger gap and ensuring children are nourished and healthy year-round."

Families with kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches (meaning they are at or below 185% of the federal poverty line) can access Summer EBT.  

Some states, like Georgia, opted out, with the governor’s office saying the state already has its own programs, such as GaDOE's Seamless Summer Option, and arguing that the federal EBT program “lacks basic nutritional requirements and sustainability but fails to address the mission of improving the health and wellness of our children."

The USDA says states not opting in this summer are still able to join for summer 2025.