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U.S. Virgin Islands Launching New USDA Program This Year to Help Nourish School Children During Summer

Families will receive $177 per eligible child for summer groceries

Press Release
Release No.
NERO 012924
Contact: FNS Press Team

Contact: FNS Northeast Regional Office Public Affairs

BOSTON, January 29, 2024 - To further address food insecurity in the U.S. Virgin Islands and provide more equitable resources for island communities, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will provide a higher benefit to territory families, as compared to the U.S. mainland, through the new, permanent summer nutrition program for children – known as Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer. In summer 2024, families in the territory will receive $177 per eligible child in Summer EBT benefits to use to buy groceries during the summer. Comparatively, the benefit amount per eligible child in the U.S. mainland is $120 this summer.

“FNS’s nutrition assistance programs have a wide-reaching impact on the health and well-being of children,” said FNS northeast regional administrator Lizbeth Silbermann. “This new program – and the boosted benefit amount for the territory to reflect the higher cost of food – will help nearly 12,000 children across the territory get nutrition they need when school is out for summer so they can grow, learn, and thrive year-round.”

Summer EBT is a new, evidence-driven program that advances the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health to enhance food and nutrition security and improve food access and affordability. The program was authorized by Congress with bipartisan support just over one year ago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be among the first to launch the program in its inaugural summer.

The 2024 Summer EBT benefit amount for the 48 contiguous United States was set by statute at $120 per eligible child for the summer. USDA used congressional authority to calculate a higher rate for the U.S. Virgin Islands to ensure equitable access. Benefit amounts for future summers will be adjusted for inflation.

Summer EBT is one of three key strategies USDA is using to tackle child hunger during the summer months. In addition to grocery benefits, summer meal sites provide free meals to families across the country, and many rural communities now offer to-go or home-delivered summer meals to increase access to this vital nutrition support. Families are encouraged to participate in all summer nutrition programs available to them.

For More Information

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of 16 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit and follow @USDANutrition.


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Page updated: January 29, 2024