HomeOregon NewsOregon launches Summer EBT to combat child hunger during school break

Oregon launches Summer EBT to combat child hunger during school break

Oregon – With the onset of summer break, many families face increased pressure on their grocery budgets as children lose access to school meals. Recognizing this need, the State of Oregon has introduced the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT), a new initiative aimed at reducing child hunger during these months.

Targeting Hunger Effectively

“Summer break is days away for families with school-age children. During the summer, many families must provide another 10 meals per child, per week. The strain that puts on a family’s grocery budget can amplify child hunger. Summer EBT is on its way to help,” explained Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Education. This partnership between the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) marks a significant step in supporting families when school meals are unavailable.

Fariborz Pakseresht, ODHS Director, highlighted the importance of this program, “Summer EBT is an evidence-based program proven to reduce child hunger and support healthier diets. We want to raise awareness about this new program and make sure families know what to expect and do when the program begins.”

Program Details and Eligibility

Beginning in late June, the Summer EBT program will allocate $120 per eligible child to be used for food purchases, significantly aiding families during the summer. Children eligible for this benefit include those whose households participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Additionally, children in foster care, or those attending schools offering the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program and meeting specific criteria, are also eligible.

Approximately 70% of eligible children will be automatically enrolled in the program, particularly those already participating in SNAP, TANF, or OHP. These families will receive Summer EBT benefits directly added to their existing Oregon EBT cards or receive a new card mailed to their registered addresses.

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For the remaining 30% of eligible children, families will need to apply through a simplified process available at sebt.oregon.gov. Eligibility for these families is dependent on the child’s enrollment in a school that offers free or reduced-price meals and household income criteria.

Wider Community Benefits

This initiative not only addresses immediate nutritional needs but also brings substantial economic benefits. Supported by a $12 million investment from the Oregon State Legislature, this initiative is set to draw an additional $83 million in federal funding, predominantly used for grocery benefits that will circulate within local communities.

Additional Resources

Families needing further assistance can explore other resources such as local food pantries, community summer meal programs, and government aid for older adults and people with disabilities through various state-supported services.

This comprehensive approach by Oregon to tackle child hunger during the critical summer months sets a precedent for supporting children’s health and well-being, ensuring they return to school ready to learn and succeed.

Lavinia Beaumont

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