USDA Launches New Summer Food Assistance Program

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the launch of a new, permanent program called SUN Bucks, also known as Summer EBT, “to provide food assistance to children and families during the summer.

Many children experiencing food insecurity rely on school meals as a primary source of sustenance, but when school is not in session, those meals are not available. The SUN Bucks program aims to partially fill that gap by providing families with a one-time sum of money per child each summer.

Qualifying families will be provided a one-time payment of $120 per child on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. Some families with children are automatically approved and will be sent benefits automatically. However, some families will have to apply depending on their situations. For information on eligibility and how to receive SUN Bucks, click here

Many county agencies across the state of North Carolina are trying to get the word out about SUN Bucks, as it is a new program. If you are someone working within food insecurity at a pantry, food bank, or other food ministry, it is important to stay up to date on the program and provide important information to clients. Consider printing off fact sheets or having QR codes available for your clients so they can learn about the program and how to access these funds when visiting your pantry. 

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools, churches, and government agencies served or delivered meals and food items to students and their families while schools were closed. The USDA seems to be acknowledging the need for such feeding programs with the launch of SUN Bucks. While this is a win, there is still work to be done in eliminating hunger, especially among families with children, as 6.4 million households with children faced food insecurity in 2022.

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