Skip to main content

Hawaii 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.
WRO 012924a
Contact: FNS Press Team

Contact: FNS Western Regional Office Public Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29, 2024 - To further address food insecurity in Hawaii and provide more equitable resources for island communities, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will provide a higher benefit to Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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 western regional administrator Jesus Mendoza, Jr. “This new program – and the boosted benefit amount for Hawaii to reflect the higher cost of food – will help nearly 100,000 children across the state 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 Hawaii 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. Responding in part to input from the Hawaii Congressional Delegation, USDA used congressional authority to calculate a higher rate for Hawaii.

Benefit amounts for future summers will be adjusted for inflation based on what is known as the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). The TFP reflects the cost of a healthy, practical, budget-conscious diet and is also used to calculate SNAP benefit amounts. FNS recently released a Request for Information on food price data in Hawaii to help inform TFP cost estimates for the state. FNS is seeking comments and ideas from the public, food industry, and research community on this subject through March 4, 2024. For more information about the Request for Information, please visit the Federal Register website.

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.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Page updated: January 29, 2024