New report highlights the need for a permanent nationwide program
WASHINGTON, August 15, 2022 — The Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) Pandemic EBT: Recommendations for a Permanent Nationwide Summer EBT Program report released today identifies best practices to ensure that children have access to nutrition benefits during the summer, and shares quotes from families about how Summer Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) helped them put food on the table.
The Pandemic EBT program was created to replace the loss of school meals when schools closed in the spring of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was extended to provide summer benefits in 2021. Even before the pandemic, food insecurity among families with children increased during the summer when they lost access to school meals.
“The Summer P-EBT program has given us insight on how a nationwide Summer EBT program can work,” said Guardia. “This program offers an important way to complement the existing Summer Nutrition Programs that provide meals, often combined with much-needed academic and enrichment activities. As families continue to recover from the pandemic, more must be done to keep hunger at bay during the summer.”
Parents and caregivers who participated in the program shared how benefits kept their children fed:
- “During these last 20 months, the extra funding from [Summer P-EBT] helped tremendously with steadily rising costs of food — my family needed the extra help … I really wish there was a continuation of help with the uncertainty with the pandemic.”
- “I have two high school students, and it’s very hard when we lost the meals, having to look to find another source or way for them to eat. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. I’m glad someone’s finally looking out for us.”
- “You guys saved my family and I last year. We greatly appreciate all you guys have done for all of us in Oregon. I finally was able to get food to actually last almost the entire month …”
FRAC’s report includes a summary of each state’s plan to distribute P-EBT benefits for the summer of 2021.
The survey for this report was sent to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to elicit feedback on various aspects of Pandemic EBT and Summer P-EBT. Forty-four of those directors responded to the survey and gave insight into the challenges states faced and the best practices gleaned from the program.
FRAC calls on Congress to close the summer hunger gap by implementing a nationwide Summer EBT program to ensure that all states can provide families with equitable access to healthy, nutritious meals when school lets out.
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.