Legislature Greenlights Summer EBT for 294,000 Oregon Kids

By Oregon Food Bank,

Portland, OR — Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Oregon Food Bank celebrate a significant milestone in the fight against childhood hunger. With recent legislative approval, Oregon is poised to participate in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) program starting this year, ensuring vital support for over 294,000 Oregon children and families during the summer months.

Charlie Krouse, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon Policy Advocate, celebrated the news, stating, “This is a momentous occasion for Oregon. Our participation in the Summer EBT program is a testament to our commitment to ensuring every child has access to nourishing meals, regardless of the season. Together, we’re taking a bold step towards a hunger-free Oregon.”

The Summer EBT program, a federal initiative, will provide eligible families an additional $40 per month for three months during the summer for groceries, addressing the critical gap left when children lose access to school meals during summer break. This initiative has proven instrumental in reducing child hunger, with participating families experiencing a 33 percent decrease in child hunger during the summer months.

Participation in Summer EBT comes at a critical time when hunger is on the rise in Oregon after years of steady decline. Oregon estimates Summer EBT will support families at the highest risk of food insecurity with over $70 million in direct food assistance benefits over the next two years. These federal benefits are estimated to boost Oregon’s economy by about $105 million during this period, which will also support grocery stores and businesses in the food supply chain.

Oregon has received initial approval for the program, pending final authorization from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Once fully approved, the program is tentatively scheduled to launch this June, providing $120 in food benefits per child throughout the summer break. While many families will receive benefits automatically, others will need to apply to access this vital assistance. Detailed information on how to apply will be shared as soon as it becomes available.

As Oregon awaits final approval, the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Department of Human Services are diligently working to finalize program logistics and ensure seamless delivery of benefits to eligible children.
In addition to the Summer EBT program, Oregon celebrates other legislative wins aimed at addressing hunger and its root causes. This session saw critical investments in affordable and stable housing; access to childcare; and equal access to hot foods for individuals facing difficulties in meal preparation, including seniors and those experiencing houselessness. These initiatives are essential steps toward creating a more equitable and food-secure Oregon.

Sammi Teo, Public Policy Advocate with Oregon Food Bank, emphasized the broader impact of these efforts, “Oregon’s commitment to addressing hunger through initiatives like the Summer EBT program and investments in affordable housing and childcare is commendable. By addressing the root causes of hunger, we are creating a more resilient and equitable Oregon for all.”

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