“No child should go hungry and no parent should have to worry about being able to feed their child,” Senator Susan Davis (D-California) was quoted as saying. She and Congresswoman Patty Murray (D-Washington) have introduced a groundbreaking federal bill to feed children during the summer through scaling up the Summer EBT for Children Program. Often, Americans are unaware of the dangerous and expansive hunger gap created during the summer months for children of low-income families. Many low-income children who rely on school breakfasts, lunches, and after-school snacks and meals during the school year go hungry during the summer months, when school is out of session. While free summer lunch sites exist, barriers such as transportation, parents’ work schedules and lack of awareness often contribute to very low participation. The San Diego Hunger Coalition’s 2014 report, Help Them Eat at Home, evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the summer meal sites and stresses the importance of Summer EBT for Children as an option.
The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act would provide $150 per child on an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card during summer months for parents to buy food for their children. The Summer EBT Program has shown effectiveness in not only fighting child hunger, but changing family eating habits for the healthier. Congresswoman Davis’ website states that, “According to an evaluation by the Department of Agriculture, the pilot program has seen positive participation numbers, with some program sites having participation rates above 90%, and it has resulted in more healthy food intake, with children eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy foods, while consuming less added sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages.”
“Expanding this program will be good for our kids, good for education and good for the economy,” Congresswoman Davis expressed. The bill would affect over 90,000 students in San Diego County, giving them access to meals at home during the summer.
The Hunger Coalition proudly applauds the efforts of Congresswomen Davis and Murray and will keep our followers updated on action and advocacy during its processing.