From: The Honorable Elizabeth H. Esty
Sent By: Kelly.Riddle@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/8/2016

Support Funding to End Childhood Hunger in the Summer

 

Dear Colleague,

I write to ask you to join me in urging the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to provide $50 million for the USDA Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) demonstration projects in Fiscal Year 2017.

During the school year, millions of children have access to nutritious food through free and reduce-price meals. However, during the summer months when school is out of session, many of these children do not receive adequate meals.

Created in 2011, the SEBTC pilot program provides food assistance to eligible low-income children through an EBT card. The initial success can be seen in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Cherokee Nation, and Chickasaw Nation, where SEBTC has successfully improved food security and nutritional access for low-income children.

This request asks the Subcommittee to provide the resources necessary to expand the pilot program to determine SEBTC’s true potential to fight childhood hunger during summer months throughout the country.

If you have any questions, or would like to sign on to the letter, please contact Kelly Riddle at 6-0786 orKelly.Riddle@mail.house.gov. The deadline to sign is COB Monday, March 14, 2016.

 

Sincerely,

Elizabeth H. Esty
Member of Congress

 


 

March 15, 2016

 

 

The Honorable Robert Aderholt                                The Honorable Sam Farr

Chairman                                                                    Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Agriculture,                                   Subcommittee on Agriculture,

Rural Development, Food and Drug                          Rural Development, Food and Drug

Administration, and Related Agencies                      Administration, and Related Agencies

2362-A Rayburn House Office Building                   1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515                                           Washington, D.C. 20515

 

 

Dear Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Farr:

 

As you begin consideration of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill, we respectfully request funding in the amount of $50 million for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children demonstration project. This funding is needed to expand this program’s proven ability to improve food security and nutrition for low-income children it to states that do not currently benefit from its success.

 

During the school year, millions of low-income children have access to nutritious food through free and reduced-price meals. However, only one in six of these eligible children have access to free and reduced-price meals in the summer, when school is out of session. Lack of transportation, limited number of food sites and resources, and restricted site hours, are some of the many barriers that prevent children from benefiting from summer meals programs. Our inability to adequately serve more low-income children who are at a higher risk of food insecurity has determent affects the health and development of our most vulnerable students.

To overcome some of the barriers to access, the USDA created the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) demonstration project to study the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer debit cards in providing food assistance to eligible children in low-income households during the summer months. Each family receives an EBT card with approximately $60 per eligible child per month, redeemable at Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) authorized retailers.

 

Since its inception in 2011, this pilot program has substantially reduced childhood hunger, decreasing very high food insecurity among children by a third. The SEBTC demonstration project has also improved childhood nutrition – enabling children to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This program is successful at alleviating child hunger in the summer, reaching 30-75% of eligible children, far higher than the 16-17% reached by traditional summer meals programs.

 

The SEBTC demonstration project is currently at work in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Cherokee Nation, and Chickasaw Nation. This funding for FY2017 will allow USDA to continue this program’s success and expand it to additional states. This will help more states reach low-income children who lack access to the existing summer meals program, and will better determine if SEBTC can address childhood hunger during summer months throughout more of the country.

 

We must do more to end child food insecurity. We urge you to support robust funding for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children pilot program, a program that is proven to improve child nutrition and reduced childhood hunger.

 

Sincerely,

____________________
Elizabeth H. Esty
Member of Congress