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Rep. Levin leads the national fight against child hunger

February 3, 2023

California Association of Food Banks applauds Rep. Levin for leading the national fight against child hunger. Thanks to his hard work in championing HR 3519 (The Stop Child Hunger Act), Summer EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) was made a priority by Congress. CAFB is also grateful for his continued leadership in pushing to expand Summer EBT to other school breaks and unanticipated closures due to disasters when children need it most.

CAFB was proud to see nationwide Summer EBT included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. This program will provide low-income children eligible for free meals with $120 in food benefits during the summer months, ensuring they don’t lose access to vital nutrition when schools are closed. Summer EBT has been a long-held California priority for California and Western Regional states. USDA’s evaluation found that Summer EBT reduces the worst form of child hunger by 30%, a remarkably effective intervention.

“We are heartened to see Summer EBT included in the omnibus,” said Becky Silva, director of government relations for the California Association of Food Banks. “California Association of Food Banks along with our partners in the West have long led the way in identifying the need to create a permanent, nationwide Summer EBT program that would help to ensure kids’ nutrition needs are met all year long. We know that summer months are the hungriest time for children, and we’re grateful to Representative Levin for taking action and championing HR 3519 Stop Child Hunger Act that will provide food aid during the summer as well as during other breaks and unanticipated disasters. No California kid should ever go to bed hungry.”

We are, however, disappointed that the omnibus spending bill also included ending CalFresh (SNAP) Emergency Allotments prematurely in February instead of keeping them tied to the Federal Public Health Emergency status. This premature ending of benefits is going to cause widespread hunger and hardship throughout California, and place incredible pressure on our state’s food banks – which have already been stretched thin since the onset of the pandemic.

While California is making history this year with the first-in-the-nation School Meals for All providing free breakfast and lunch to any child regardless of their family’s income, far too many low-income children lose access to meals when schools are closed, and Summer EBT will provide essential investments in summer feeding for California’s most vulnerable children.

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