DENVER, CO – The House Appropriations Committee today passed legislation to combat child hunger by taking advantage of the federal Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Program and providing students with nutrition assistance during summer break.
“No child in Colorado should go hungry, which is why we’re taking advantage of federal funding to feed more kids across our state,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “Colorado is stepping up to ensure more than 300,000 students have healthy food during the summer months through expanded EBT benefits. Our students deserve access to healthy, nutritious food even when they’re not in school, and this legislation sets our state on a path forward to combating child hunger.”
“One in nine Colorado kids face hunger, and it only gets worse during the summer months without school meals, stretching families already strapped budgets,” said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County. “The federal government recently expanded summer nutrition assistance funding, and we’re jumping on this opportunity in Colorado to feed more children during the summer months. This program is a proven method to reduce childhood hunger. Our legislation will feed more than 300,000 Colorado kids during the summer, making it easier for our students to receive the food they need to grow and learn.”
SB23B-002, which passed by a vote of 7-4 would allocate an estimated $35 million to expand EBT benefits, which would help families purchase groceries from SNAP retailers during the summer months when child hunger is most severe. Families with children eligible for the national free and reduced-price school meals program will receive $40 a month per eligible child for the summer benefit in 2024, to be adjusted for inflation in following years.
The Summer EBT Program was established in December 2022 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, with the program beginning in the summer of 2024. By taking action now, Colorado is a national leader on this issue. Ten other states indicated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they intend to do so next year, which would postpone their program’s start until 2025.