USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced significant investments in states and tribal areas across the country to test innovative ways to address a critical need – providing low-income children with access to healthy nutrition during the summer.
“Low-income children are at a heightened risk for food insecurity in the summer months, when schools are closed and many low-income children find it difficult to get the healthy nutrition they need,” Concannon said. “These projects offer a wonderful opportunity to build on the success of the Summer Food Service Program and explore new ways to combat childhood hunger.”
The $5.5 million in grant awards announced today – the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children Demonstrations (SEBTC) – are a result of requirements included by Congress in the fiscal year 2010 appropriations. That Act required USDA to test different methods of providing low-income children improved access to food during the summer months. Today’s announced projects will use the electronic benefit infrastructure of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to give low-income families with school-age children more food resources to use at the store during the summer. Families will receive a card, similar to a debit card, which they can use in stores to buy food.
Five states will receive grants to continue their 2011 demonstrations in 2012 (four will also expand their reach into new areas within the state), and five states and tribal entities will begin new demonstration projects. The projects will provide food for about 75,000 low-income children in rural and urban areas. Grantees include:
- Michigan (WIC) – Grand Rapids and Clare, Gladwin, Midland, Arenac, Bay, and Tuscola Counties
- Texas (WIC) – El Paso
- Connecticut (SNAP) – Windham, New London and Tolland Counties
- Missouri (SNAP) – Kansas City and Saint Louis
- Oregon (SNAP) – Linn, Jefferson and Marion Counties
Awards also include the following new states and tribal entities:
- Cherokee Nation (WIC) –Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, Mayes, and Sequoyah Counties
- Chickasaw Nation (WIC) – Carter, Coal, Garvin, Johnston, Marshall, McLain, Murray, and Pontotoc Counties
- Nevada (WIC) – Douglas, Lyon, and Washoe Counties
- Delaware (SNAP) – New Castle County
- Washington (SNAP) – Clark County
These demonstrations complement others that operated last summer to test enhancements to USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, a vital part of America’s nutrition safety net, which serves more than 2 million children every summer. All of these projects will provide critical information about the impact of cutting-edge nutrition interventions on achieving real progress in the fight against hunger among our children during the summer months.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs including SFSP, SNAP, WIC, the National School Lunch Program; and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.
USDA administers these programs in partnership with State and local agencies, and works with faith and community-based organizations to ensure that nutrition assistance is available to those in need.