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Representative Levin & USDA Deputy Secretary Torres Small Announce the Launch of the Summer EBT Program

February 21, 2024

Last week, Representative Mike Levin (CA-49) and United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xotchil Torress Small held a press conference at Mission Elementary in Oceanside to celebrate California’s upcoming Summer EBT program. This is the first new nationwide anti-hunger entitlement program in a generation, which will help us to close the gap during the hungriest time of the year, summer.

The event drew local organizations and nonprofits, including the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego, all of which are gearing up for the program’s launch this year. 

Thanks to Senator Skinner’s leadership, in 2021, California passed the historic first-in-nation School Meals for All policy, ensuring all children receive a free breakfast and lunch. However, when school lets out for summer, these crucial meals are no longer available, leaving children at risk of hunger.

We are incredibly grateful that California was the first state in the country to announce it would be implementing Summer EBT starting in the summer of 2024. With swift planning by the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Education, eligible children will receive Summer EBT benefits starting at $40 per month, allowing families to shop at their local grocery store and put food on the table while school’s out.

Rep. Levin noted Summer EBT has been a long-held priority in California going back to former Rep. Susan Davis. 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.

“In California, 3.8M children will be eligible for Summer EBT benefits during the summer months,” said Deputy Secretary Torres Small. The program will complement the Summer Food Service Program so children can also receive meals. This amounts to over $800 million in total statewide benefits, poised to have a significant economic multiplier effect, thereby stimulating both local economies and the broader statewide economy.”

Rep. Levin and Deputy Secretary Torres Small took a moment to sit down with students during lunchtime and toured the Mission Elementary Food Service, witnessing firsthand School Meals for All in action.

We are grateful for Rep. Levin leading the national fight against child hunger. He has been a strong champion for H.R. 4379 – the Stop Child Hunger Act – which aims to expand Summer EBT benefits beyond summer months to cover other school breaks and unanticipated closures due to disasters, when children need support the most.

Take action: ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 4379, the Stop Child Hunger Act! Check to see if your member is already a cosponsor by looking at the “cosponsors” tab on the bill and thank them if they are already listed! If they are not, then send them a message asking that they co-sponsor it. You can use your address to find your Member of Congress here.

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