Rep. Susan Davis Introduces Bill to End Child Summer Hunger
The arrival of summer can mean trips to the beach or a family vacation. However, for millions of low-income students who benefit from free or reduced-price school meals it can mean wondering where their next meal might come from, making hunger an unnecessary part of their summer months. To end summer hunger for these children, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act.
“No child should go hungry and no parent should have to worry about being able to feed their child,” said Davis, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The Summer Food Service Program builds on a proven and simple solution to filling the meal gap that millions of children face every summer. Expanding this program will be good for our kids, good for education and good for the economy.”
“Almost a quarter of the children in our country are food insecure, and on any given day, they can go without a meal. They go to bed hungry – and as a mother and grandmother, that’s unacceptable,” said Senator Murray. “I’m as committed as ever to fighting poverty and hunger in America – and a big part of that is the bill I am reintroducing today, the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act. We must continue to fight for children by removing unnecessary barriers and helping them get the nutrition they need to grow, learn, and thrive.”
The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act would scale up the Summer EBT for Children pilot program currently providing families with eligible children free and reduce-priced school meals through an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. In San Diego County, over 90,000 students who benefit from nutritious, affordable school meals during the academic year miss out on similar meals during the summer.
During the school year, eligible students get breakfasts and lunches at school. While these free and reduce-priced meals are available during the summer at other locations, lack of awareness and accessibility prevents all eligible kids from taking advantage of the meals.
With the Summer EBT for Children pilot program, parents receive an electronic benefit transfer card at the end of the school year to use at food stores during the summer months. The benefit would be $150 per child for the summer.
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 percent, 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.