US

Biden to give 34m children $375 a week over the summer to buy food

Biden will give 34 million children $345 over ten weeks this summer to buy food as part of a huge expansion of the government’s meal plan

  • The Biden administration announced the expansion of a child food program that will feed as many as 34 million kids this summer 
  • It’s part of Biden’s push to address food insecurity and child poverty in America 
  • It will provide up to 34 million children about $375 each week to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer 
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called it the ‘first-of-its-kind, game-changing intervention to reduce child hunger in the United States’

The Biden administration announced Monday the expansion of a child food program that will feed as many as 34 million kids this summer.

It is one of the biggest meal plans in US history and part of President Joe Biden‘s wider push to address food insecurity and child poverty in America. 

The expansion, announced by the Department of Agriculture, will provide up to 34 million children about $375 each week to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer.  

It will be paid for with funds from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package approved in March. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the summer expansion the ‘first-of-its-kind, game-changing intervention to reduce child hunger in the United States.’ 

The administration announced the expansion of a child food program that will feed as many as 34 million kids this summer as part of President Joe Biden’s wider push to address food insecurity and child poverty in America

Children under 6 who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and children who receive free or reduced-priced lunch qualify for the program and will be enrolled automatically. 

Parents or guardians will get the cards, known as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, cards, in the mail from state agencies. Congress has funded the program for the summers of 2021 and 2022.

But Biden plans to extend the monthly payments through 2025 as part of a multitrillion-dollar plan he will announce Wednesday night in a joint address to Congress. 

‘Congress, through the American Rescue Plan, expanded this program to operate during the summer, which I think was just highly responsive to what we need right now,’ Stacy Dean, the deputy under secretary of agriculture for food, nutrition and consumer services, told NBC News

‘We know that summer hunger is a problem in normal years, but obviously this year, with heightened food hardship as a result of the pandemic, we’re happy to deploy the program this summer,’ she said.

Children were one of the groups hardest hit by the coronavirus as parents lost jobs and schools, one of the few places many at-risk kids received a hot meal, were closed. 

During the pandemic, the childhood poverty rate in America increased three points to a high of 21.4 per cent, according to Columbia University’s Center on Poverty & Social Policy. 

And the rate for black and Hispanic children is twice that of white children: 12.3 per cent for white children compared to 26.3 per cent for black children and 26.9 per cent for Hispanics.

There are an estimated 17 million children struggling with hunger in America – 6 million more than before the pandemic, according to Save the Children.

The expansion will provide up to 34 million children about $375 each week to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer

The expansion will provide up to 34 million children about $375 each week to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer 

Child poverty rose during the coronavirus pandemic as parents lost jobs

Child poverty rose during the coronavirus pandemic as parents lost jobs

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan provided working and middle-class families an expanded child tax credit worth up to $3,600 for each child under the age of 6, and $3,000 for each child ages 6 through 17.

The plan contained enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, unemployment benefits, family and child care tax credits, and direct cash payments in form of stimulus checks – $1,400 for each individual and dependent for families earning less than $150,000.

The White House claims the plan can cut childhood poverty in half.

An Urban Institute analysis found the child poverty rate in 2021 will fall by more than 52 per cent, largely from changes in tax law and the $1,400 stimulus checks.

But the tax provisions will only remain in affect for a year or two and the stimulus checks are a one-time boost – leaving unclear how long the benefits of the plan will last.

First lady Jill Biden has been one of the biggest advocates for children during the pandemic. She’s visited several states to sell the benefits of the president’s rescue package. 

‘The American Rescue Plan is going to cut child poverty in half,’ she said during a visit to Alabama earlier this month, calling it a ‘life raft’ for struggling families.

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