California providing $120 per child for summer food program

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CALIFORNIA – The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) announced, June 4, the upcoming launch of SUN Bucks. The new federal food program is designed to ensure that children in low income families have adequate nutrition while school is out for the summer.

SUN Bucks, also known as Summer EBT, will provide $120 per child — $40 per month for the three months schools are typically closed during the summer. 

“California is among the first states in the nation to launch this new food program, which will help ensure families have food on the table during the summer,” said CDSS Director Kim Johnson.

Provides 21 million children with access to food

According to Feeding America, the SUN Bucks program will provide nearly 21 million children across the country with access to groceries during summer when school meals are not available. 

The money is provided on a card that can be used to buy food at most grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and online at places like Amazon and Walmart.

How SUN Bucks works

The state says children who qualify through the following are automatically enrolled: 

  • Free or reduced-price school meals through a school meal application or an alternative income form; 
  • Receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, or Medi-Cal.

Most families will not need to take action to receive SUN Bucks. The cards are scheduled to arrive in the mail beginning June 2024 and continue through fall 2024.

Children who are not automatically enrolled for SUN Bucks must apply for free or reduced-price school meals by completing and submitting a school meal application or alternative income form by August 31, 2024, or they will not receive SUN Bucks benefits for summer 2024. 

Families can obtain the correct free or reduced price school meal application from their school or school administrator’s office.

For more information about the SUN Bucks program visit https://cdss.ca.gov/sun-bucks

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