Summer EBT

Take Action to Advocate for Summer EBT in Iowa

The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT) is a new federal childhood nutrition program established by Congress in December 2022.

Summer EBT would provide $120 in nutrition benefits to 245,000 children in Iowa who qualify for free and reduced price school meals during the summer

Unfortunately, Iowa announced on December 22, 2023, that the state would not be participating in (read IHC’s response here).

We are urging Iowa’s legislature to pass legislation to ensure Iowa’s participation in Summer EBT in 2025 and every year going forward. We simply cannot sit out this historic investment opportunity to address childhood hunger and food insecurity.

Sign the Petition

Sign and share the petition calling on Iowa to participate in Summer EBT! We have set an ambitious goal of gathering the signatures of 10,000 Iowans who support Summer EBT.

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Share Your Story

Would your family benefit from Summer EBT? We want to hear from you!

You can share your story at the link below. We won’t use your story without permission.

Summer EBT is Evidence-Based Policy

Summer EBT is a tried and tested program, with pilot projects gathering evidence on the program’s positive impact since 2011. In a final summary report of these demonstration projects, USDA Food and Nutrition Service found that providing a $60 monthly Summer EBT benefit:

  • reduced food insecurity by 8.3 percentage points;
  • increased consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains;
  • and did not increase consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.

View the results of Summer EBT demonstration projects below:

Iowa’s Children and Families Need Summer EBT!

Food insecurity is reaching startling levels in Iowa right now. Food banks, food pantries, and other anti-hunger organizations are assisting record-breaking numbers of people. School meal debt is rising. A $120 nutrition benefit during the summer will help families who are struggling to put food on the table.

Summer EBT has been piloted over the past decade and is a tried and tested approach for addressing childhood food insecurity. The pandemic may have exacerbated child hunger, but the problem existed before COVID-19 and it remains a problem now.  Grocery benefits for children who receive free and reduced school meals (Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children, or SEBTC) was piloted as a way to address child hunger starting in 2011.  Extensive research demonstrates that Summer EBT is an effective way to reduce food insecurity and improve nutritional outcomes for Iowa children during summer months. 

Feeding hungry kids during the summer should be an easy bipartisan win. Summer EBT is an evidence-based, means tested program, that has proven positive impacts on nutritious eating and food security. Total Summer EBT benefits of $29.4 million to feed Iowa’s kids translates to $45.2 million in economic activity generated in the state. Iowa would be responsible for half of the administrative costs of this program – an estimated $2.2 million dollars in the first year and $1.3 million in subsequent years.

The existing Summer Food Service Program alone cannot address food insecurity for Iowa children when school is not in session. Research shows that hunger and food insecurity during summer months can put kids at a serious disadvantage by contributing to learning loss, compromising physical and mental health, and negatively affecting children’s ability to thrive. Even assuming, for argument’s sake, that the nutritional and educational merits of SFSP are superior to those associated with Summer EBT, only a small fraction of eligible Iowa children have access to these benefits. 

Parents in Iowa should be trusted to be able to make the right food choices for their family. We should be supporting the ability of all Iowans to be able to make healthier food choices, not penalizing low-income families and exasperating food insecurity. Summer EBT has proven to increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains, without increasing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.