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Hunger relief organizations urge lawmakers to fund Summer EBT program

The federal government still funds the cost of the meals and only requires states to fund a portion of the administration costs.

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Hunger relief groups are continuing to call on lawmakers to include funding for Summer EBT feeding program in 2025, which so far has gone unfunded in the state budget.

Summer is often the hungriest time for Alabama children. Children who receive free breakfast and lunch during the school year—often the only meals they eat during the day—lose access to these meals over the summer. Nearly 1 in 5 children in Alabama lack consistent access to adequate nutrition and face uncertainty about where their next meal will come from. Though some in-person summer feeding programs exist in Alabama, they reach barely 6 percent of the kids who need the meals. 

“Ensuring children across Alabama have access to nutritious meals, especially during the summer months when school meals are not available, is paramount to their health and well-being,” said Michael Ledger, president and CEO of Feeding the Gulf Coast. “It’s not only about combating hunger, it’s about investing in the future of our children and the prosperity of our state.”  

Summer EBT was established so low-income families with children can receive $40 per child per week, up to a maximum of $120 per family, to help cover the missing meals over summer break. The federal government provides 100 percent of these payments. States are only required to cover a portion of the administrative costs to set up and run the program. 

Summer EBT funding would help 545,000 Alabama children bridge the hunger gap when school is out. Advocates say this funding would also create significant economic activity, as those funds are spent immediately at local stores and grocers. 

An investment of $10 million could generate more than $100 million in economic activity across the state, a 10-1 return on investment,  and provide much-needed meals to more than 500,000 of Alabama’s children. 

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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