DENVER, CO – Today, Governor Jared Polis signed Senators Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, and Jeff Bridges, D-Arapahoe County, and Representatives Shannon Bird, D-Westminster, and Lorena Garcia’s, D-Unincorporated Adams County, legislation to take advantage of the federal Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Program and provide students with nutrition assistance during summer break.
Under SB23B-002 – which passed with bipartisan support – Colorado children will receive an estimated $35 million to help their families purchase groceries while school is out for summer – a time when child hunger typically spikes. The Summer EBT benefits can be used to purchase food from SNAP retailers. Families will receive $40 a month per eligible child for the summer benefit in 2024, to be adjusted for inflation in following years.
“In Colorado, far too many children, through no fault of their own, face nutritional challenges—a problem that becomes exacerbated in the summer when they are not in school and they don’t have access to free and reduced meals,” said Zenzinger. “I’m proud of our bipartisan work to deliver these federal funds, making Colorado a national leader on this issue.”
“Today, we’re taking an important step to combat childhood hunger,” said Bird. “This law utilizes federal funds to feed more children during the summer months when child hunger rises. We’re working to make it easier for hardworking Coloradans to make ends meet and feed their children.”
“Ensuring kids have access to meals all year round is a great thing, full stop,” said Bridges. “Passing this legislation now means more than 300,000 Colorado kids will get meals for next summer, when they’re not receiving meals at school. Our bipartisan bill means Colorado will be a national leader in utilizing the federal funding available to us, and I’m proud to see it get signed into law.”
“No child in Colorado should go hungry, and we’re taking significant steps to combat child hunger during the summer,” said Garcia. “This law will help feed more children and provide some much needed breathing room in the grocery budgets of thousands of families. Taking advantage of federal funding to feed our kids during the summer upholds the dignity of families and protects the health of the over 300,000 children in Colorado."
The Summer EBT Program was established in December 2022 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, with the program beginning in the summer of 2024. After California, Colorado is the next state to opt into the program for the 2024 year. Sixteen 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. Colorado became one of the first states in the nation to implement new federal Summer EBT Program