Funding to expand summer meal access included in latest spending bill

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 would establish a permanent summer EBT program and allow summer meal sites to offer non-congregate meals.
A student holds a lunch tray
Photo: Shutterstock

Funding to expand summer meal access for students was included in a $1.7 trillion bipartisan spending bill released by the Senate earlier this week.

If passed, The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 would establish a permanent summer EBT (electronic benefits transfer) program and allow non-congregate summer meals to be offered to kids in rural areas.

Under the EBT program, families would receive $40 a month per eligible child to help buy groceries while school is not in session. The bill also permits summer feeding sites in rural areas to offer non-congregate meals to children, such as grab-and-go or home delivery.

“We know too often children who are able to get healthy meals in school go hungry during the summer. This investment is a critical step to ending childhood hunger,” U.S. Senator and Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Debbie Stabenow, said in a statement. “I want to thank Ranking Member John Boozman and House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott for their partnership on this important effort. Our work is far from over, and I remain committed to passing a comprehensive child nutrition reauthorization, and also protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as we begin work on the 2023 Farm Bill.”

The bill also provides $30 million for school kitchen equipment grants and $3 million for school breakfast expansion grants.

Congress is rushing to pass the bill this week before government funding runs out on Friday.



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