Posted by Haley Kottler, Thriving and Integrated Voter Engagement Director

Food for Thought: How the Summer EBT program became a lifeline for Kansas families

Summer EBT is here to stay for Kansas kids on free and reduced priced meals. What happens now? 

In 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act created the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT). This program sought to give grocery assistance to school-aged children on free and reduced-priced meals while their schools were closed due to the pandemic. 

This program was incredibly successful in ensuring kids across the nation had access to groceries during an unprecedented time–so successful that the United States Department of Agriculture used this program to launch Summer-EBT (S-EBT) to all states that would like to participate in the program. 

With 1 in 7 children in Kansas facing food insecurity, Summer-EBT is a lifeline to families who need access to a bit of support over the summer months. 

While the need for this program seems like a no-brainer as our state battles against childhood hunger, state lawmakers attempted to ban it this legislative session. Thankfully, their efforts paled in comparison to the overwhelming support from Kansans across the state who rallied to ensure Summer-EBT could be utilized for the Kansas families who need the program. 

We heard from over one thousand Kansans across the state about the necessity of this program. Here are some of the comments we received: 

    • “I am a parent and public school teacher. I see the impact of food insecurity regularly. Hungry kids can’t learn.”
    • “I personally benefited from this. Single working mother who doesn’t qualify for traditional assistance. Having to choose between paying bills and feeding your children is not okay.” 
    • “I am a single father of 3 special need boys and I work 40 hrs per week and have just enough money to pay my bills with only three dollars per month left over after bills are paid.”
    • “As a nurse I see the financial impact that food brings to families. No kid should be hungry at school.” 

Thankfully, because of Kansans across the state coming together, Summer-EBT is here to stay for Kansas kids! 

Summer EBT is a vital program, offering grocery benefits to low-income families with school-aged children during summer breaks, supporting up to 266,000 Kansas kids. This program provides families with $120 during the summer per child who qualifies for this benefit. 

Kansas kids are eligible for Summer EBT if:

    • The child is school-aged (7-17 years old) and received SNAP Food Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and/or Foster Care benefits at any point during the school year or,
    • The child is on the free or reduced-price meal program or household income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals at any point during the school year.

Summer EBT benefits will be automatically issued to eligible Kansas kids by July 11th, 2024. If you believe a child should qualify for these benefits and did not receive them by July 11th, families can apply for benefits at from August 12th through September 11th, 2024. While you will need some identifying information for this application, you will NOT need to include a social security number or proof of citizenship to apply.