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Category: Food Security

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Summer EBT Launches to Help Low-Income Qualifying California Families with Food for Children

Each day, more than 30 million children participate in the USDA’s school breakfast and lunch programs, but what happens when school is out?

Child hunger over the summer is a major source of food insecurity for many families in California. This year the California Department of Social Services is rolling out a new program to provide relief for families. The SUN Bucks program gives $120 for groceries for each eligible school aged child in the home.

Sun Bucks works like CalFresh in California. Best known in California as Summer EBT (S-EBT), families can purchase food at most grocery stories, and online on Amazon and Walmart. S-EBT must be used within 122 days or the benefits expire.

For those automatically enrolled, S-EBT cards were mailed out mid-June 2024 for school children with last names A-D. For students with last names beginning with E-L cards will be mailed out in July 2024, and concludes with M-Z last named households receiving theirs in August 2024.

For families not automatically enrolled or unsure of enrollment status, they can check with their school to complete a school meal application or fill out an Alternative Income Form before August 31, 2024, to qualify. This program will continue into 2025.

Sun Bucks were developed to complement ongoing Sun Meals, which have been an ongoing food program at certain schools, parks, and other community centers. The Sun Meals in-person program has helped families since 1968. Meals are often paired with summer enrichment activities to keep kids active in the summer. Sun Meals To-Go programs were launched in 2023 in rural or remote areas where in-person programs are unavailable.

With 14 Republican states declining to fund similar programs, California is taking a strong step forward in addressing the nutritional health needs of vulnerable populations.

No child this summer should go without access to nutritious meals!