USDA extends program to feed 30 million children over the summer
The Department of Agriculture has extended a pandemic benefits program to provide meals to roughly 30 million children from low-income families over this summer, it announced in a press release Monday.
Why it matters: The extension of the benefits program is funded by the American Rescue Plan is part of a greater effort by the USDA to provide food security to low-income schoolchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Just last week, the USDA extended school meal programs through the summer of 2022.
The big picture: The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program was established in March 2020 to "to provide food dollars to families to make up for meals missed when schools have closed due to COVID-19," per the press release.
- The program was set to expire in September 2021 but the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion relief bill has allowed the program to be extended through the end of the pandemic, including summer months when school is out of session.
What they're saying: “The expansion of P-EBT benefits over the summer is a first-of-its-kind, game-changing intervention to reduce child hunger in the United States,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the statement.
- “By providing low-income families with a simple benefit over the summer months, USDA is using an evidenced-based solution to drive down hunger and ensure no child has to miss a meal.”