[WATCH] Biden Administration Launches Largest Kids Summer Food Program in History
In the latest push by the White House to address widespread hunger and food insecurity in the United States, the Biden administration will launch a summer food program to feed more than 30 million low-income children. A representative from the Agriculture Department told NBC News that the new plan is the largest summer food program in the country’s history.
“Congress, through the American Rescue Plan, expanded this program to operate during the summer, which I think was just highly responsive to what we need right now,” said Stacy Dean, the deputy undersecretary of agriculture for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “We know that summer hunger is a problem in normal years, but obviously this year, with heightened food hardship as a result of the pandemic, we’re happy to deploy the program this summer.”
The plan will provide up to 34 million children about $375 each, or about $7 a day, to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer. That’s when children from low-income families have long struggled with hunger, as free or reduced-price lunch school programs that guarantee meals don’t operate then.
Kids under 6 who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and children who receive free or reduced-price lunch qualify for the program and will be enrolled automatically. Their parents or guardians will get the cards, known as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, cards, in the mail from their state agencies. Congress has funded the program for the summers of 2021 and 2022.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak joined Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC Monday morning to discuss the new program.