Millions of families struggle with food insecurity every summer when school is out. Income loss due to the pandemic has only exasperated the situation.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) up to 12 million children are currently living in households where they may not have enough to eat.
If you’re worried about how to put food on your family’s table, help is out there.
How to Get Free Meals for Kids This Summer: 3 Federal Programs
The American Rescue Plan — the coronavirus relief package President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2021 — provided funding to expand several USDA programs aimed to reduce child hunger.
1. Pandemic EBT
Families with children eligible for free or reduced lunch and those who qualify for SNAP benefits can receive extra money for food via the Pandemic EBT program, which is being extended through the summer to make up for missed college meals.
The USDA customary profit quantity is $375 per eligible baby over the course of the summer time. These dwelling in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands have the next customary profit.
You’ll have to enroll within the Pandemic EBT program by way of your particular person state, as funds are disbursed on the state degree. Presently, 40 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have been authorised to function Pandemic EBT packages.
Cash is mostly distributed in two or three disbursements all through the summer time.
2. USDA Summer season Meals
All households with kids 18 and beneath can take part in the USDA’s summer meal programs, which companions with native businesses together with libraries, group facilities, parks, church buildings and faculties to distribute meals.
Program guidelines have been loosened in order that meals could be distributed in bulk packages to cowl a number of days and so dad and mom can choose up the meals with out having their kids current.
This interactive map helps you discover native meal distribution websites. It’s also possible to find a close-by website by texting “Summer season Meals” to 97779 or calling 1-866-348-6479.
3. USDA Nationwide Starvation Hotline
The USDA National Hunger Hotline might help households searching for meals help. Name 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) Monday by way of Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. E.T. to achieve the hotline. When you want help in Spanish, name 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273).
Free Meals Subsequent Faculty Yr
Even after summer time involves an finish, households will nonetheless be capable to get a monetary break in terms of feeding their youngsters.The USDA is extending its Nationwide Faculty Lunch Program Seamless Summer season Possibility in order that students can receive universal free lunch throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Waivers may also be given to offer free meals for teenagers in daycare and preschool packages.
If college students are nonetheless studying nearly, you’ll be capable to choose up meals for youngsters to eat at dwelling. Examine along with your baby’s college or baby care supplier to see if they’re collaborating on this program.
Nicole Dow is a senior author at The Penny Hoarder.