Maryland is one of 27 states and territories partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide electronic benefit transfer (EBT) food benefits for the summer months to eligible children.
In Maryland, families of eligible children will likely receive $391 per child for the summer. Eligibility depends on whether a child receives free or reduced-price meals during the school year or is under age six and lives in a household receiving SNAP benefits. According to the USDA, the summer program has many benefits:
- Decreasing by one-third the number of households with children who do not always have enough to eat;
- Reaching children across diverse geographical areas – including difficult-to-reach rural populations;
- Increasing consumption of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy.
Cindy Long, the administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, discussed the need to provide summer food benefits to children in a press release:
‘For far too long, millions of families have struggled to keep their kids fed and healthy during the summer while schools are out,’ said Administrator Long. ‘Child food benefits can bridge the gap and help families provide the nourishment their children deserve. These benefits can help American families in need cope with rising food costs.’
The following resources are available to families seeking food assistance for children in their household :
- The USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder helps families quickly and easily find summer meal sites near them, where children can eat meals at no cost.
- The USDA National Hunger Hotline, operated by Hunger Free America, connects people with food assistance in their nearby communities. The hotline can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) (for English) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) (for Spanish).