For Immediate Release: 12/20/2022
Contact: Wesley Story
Food Banks Cheer Inclusion of Child Nutrition Investments in Omnibus Budget Bill
Proposed funding would create a national summer EBT program.
TEXAS – Feeding Texas, the state association of food banks, joins other advocacy groups to praise the inclusion of child nutrition investments in the year-end omnibus budget bill negotiated by Congress.
The proposed funding would create a national summer EBT program, a method of feeding hungry children during the summer months modeled on a successful COVID relief program.
“Kids need access to good nutrition all year round,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “Food banks often see increased need in the summer when school lunches are no longer available, and this investment is an important step toward eliminating that disparity.”
Summer EBT provides low-income families with school-aged children an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) debit card to purchase food at local grocers. Prior to the pandemic, a pilot program in El Paso significantly reduced summer hunger. The very similar Pandemic EBT (P-EBT program), which recently announced its fifth and final round of benefits in Texas, found similar success.
“Families know the best way to feed their children,” Cole said. “These programs fight hunger efficiently by putting food purchasing power directly into parents’ wallets, while also supporting our local food economy.”
Congress must pass the proposed package this week to avoid a government shutdown. While advocates were disappointed that a larger anti-poverty investment in the Child Tax Credit was not included in the bill, they urged Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to vote for passage.
“Summer EBT is one step toward a hunger-free America,” Cole said. “We look forward to working with the next Congress to improve nutrition programs through the Farm Bill, as well as find a path to reinstitute the expanded Child Tax Credit.”
Feeding Texas leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Learn more and find your local food bank at www.feedingtexas.org.