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STATEMENT: New USDA Summer Food Program Is a Lifeline for Struggling Families

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Biden administration announced that it will provide as many as 34 million children with up to $375 to purchase food over the summer, in what is believed to be the largest summer food plan in the nation’s history. Following the announcement, Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

We know that 1 in 7 U.S. children who live in poverty often do not have reliable access to nutritious meals when schools are closed for summer vacation. The summer food program announced today will give tens of millions of children additional access to healthy meals through the existing Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. This is one of many examples of how important direct cash transfers to people in need can be. The P-EBT program has proven to be an incredibly effective and, perhaps most importantly, fast program that has already helped millions of children in low-income families. This summer program will be especially effective alongside other big steps to address hunger that have been implemented through the American Rescue Plan, including a 15 percent increase to the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit and an extension of the Seamless Summer Option school meals program through the 2022 school year. These programs are a lifeline for families that are struggling to make ends meet in the worst economic crisis in nearly a century. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to ensure that every child has enough to eat. In the richest nation in the world, there is no excuse for any child to go hungry.”

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