WASHINGTON, April 26, 2021 – Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new effort funded by the American Rescue Plan to provide adequate nutrition to more than 30 million children over the summer by expanding Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called this expansion of P-EBT benefits over the summer “a first-of-its-kind, game-changing intervention to reduce child hunger in the United States.”
See below for what they are saying:
Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP
President of the American Academy of Pediatrics
“Pediatricians know well that nutrition during childhood sets the foundation for healthy growth and development. Throughout the pandemic, families have faced countless challenges and worrying about where their child’s next meal will come from should not be one of them. Expanding the Summer EBT program will help ensure that children do not go hungry during the summer months – a concern even before the pandemic. Access to healthy meals year-round is essential to supporting a child’s lifelong health, and this program will help make that possible.”
Eduardo Ochoa, MD
Principal Investigator for Children’s HealthWatch and Pediatrician in Community Pediatrics at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital
“Children of all ages need nutritious meals year-round to stay healthy and thrive. Unfortunately, every summer I meet families in my clinic struggling to afford food when their children are out of school. Access to meals is the best treatment for summer hunger. Summer P-EBT will ensure families across our country are able to afford the food their children need for healthy development.”
Diane L. Golzynski, PhD, RD
Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition Services Michigan Department of Education
“Having the extension of Pandemic EBT through the summer months will be a game changer for some families. Most especially those with limited income and transportation options. What we have learned with other summer benefit programs is that summer is especially difficult for families to reach meal distribution sites. Therefore, providing funds for food purchases in a manner that is most convenient to the family is the best alternative. Michigan is thrilled to continue this partnership with the USDA and providing these benefits to our families. We are stronger together; especially when we support our families in greatest need.”
S. Duke Storen
Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services
“In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, millions of children continue to face hunger and hardship. No child should go hungry during the summer when schools are closed. Every missed meal has the power to do harm, with negative impacts like learning loss and higher risk of illness and hospitalization. Summer EBT is a practical, efficient way to address hunger. Making Summer EBT available nationwide is simply good public policy that arms states with the flexibility to end summer hunger. Virginia would only reach about 15% of children who receive meals at school through our summer food sites. With Summer EBT, we can reach every child.”
Visit the following link for a PDF version of this release: Pandemic EBT – Summer 2021 (PDF, 79.6 KB).
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