Summer food program reduces food insecurity

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recently released a major evaluation of a summer food demonstration project for which LINC is one of a handful of selected demonstration sites.

The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) federal demonstration project is exploring ways to address food insecurity among children during the summer months when school lunches are not available.

The demonstration project involved the random selection of eligible children from the Kansas City, Hickman Mills and Center school districts.  Children were eligible if they qualified for free lunches.

Selected households received $60 per month per child added to an existing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefit card. Eligible families not on SNAP (the federal food stamp program) were issued a card for summer use. 

In Kansas City, more than 5,400 children living in 3,000 households received the summer food benefit last summer. The households redeemed over $830,000 in SNAP summer food benefits -- 93.6% of available benefits.

The 2012 summer evaluation found three major findings:

  • Reaching a significant proportion of low-income children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.  USDA’s evaluation found that the SEBTC approach could reach up to 75 percent of eligible children.
  • Reducing food insecurity among low income children.  SEBTC reduced the prevalence of food insecurity among children by 19 percent, and the prevalence of very low food security among children, the most severe category, by 33 percent, compared to children who did not receive SEBTC benefits.
  • Improving the diets of young, low-income Americans during the summer months. Participating children in households with SEBTC ate more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy foods while consuming fewer sugar-sweetened beverages.

LINC was one of five demonstration sites selected in 2011. The demonstration project was expanded in 2012 at which time the St. Louis school district was added.

The demonstration project continued in the summer of 2013, the last summer for the demonstration project.

More information 

Read the USDA media release.
Download the 2012 USDA summer evaluation


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