The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Arkansas and Missouri Join Summer EBT nutrition program--Major Step Forward in the Fight vs. Hunger

Posted on January 05, 2024 at 01:57 PM

“Arkansas and Missouri Take Major Step to Promote Nutrition by Joining Summer EBT Program”

Jan. 5, 2024 Contact: Lee Powell, Caucus Director (202) 360-6347 or reply to this e-mail

The Delta region has taken an important step forward in the fight against hunger in our region, with Arkansas and Missouri opting in to the summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program.

Congratulations to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas for supporting this vital nutrition program, which will provide nutrition to many children who don’t have access to meals when school is not in session.

Kudos to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance for their tireless and effective work on this and many other hunger and nutrition issues.

At the federal level Sen. John Boozman continues to be a stalwart supporter of this and other nutrition programs and kudos to him as well. Summer EBT provides $120 in food benefits for Arkansas children who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program, a USDA service providing free or reduced price meals for low-income children.

This is a new program that will start this summer after Congress passed it as a section of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, similar to a program enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Sen. Boozman played a key role in assuring that Summer EBT was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance merits great credit for steadfastly advocating for this and other nutrition programs and working constructively with Gov. Sanders and other state and federal officials.

US Census data in September indicated that 22% of Arkansas’ children live in poverty, which is the sixth highest rate in the country, according to the nonprofit Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

In Arkansas a two-person household with a $36,482 income, ranging up to an eight-person household with $93,536 income would qualify for the National School Lunch Program.

Gov. Sanders’ constructive action is a welcome contrast to some other ill-informed, destructive actions taken by the governors of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Iowa against this essential program.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made the ludicrous comment that this program “does nothing to promote nutrition”–when in fact it fills an important gap in the food safety net during the summer months.

A similar nonsensical comment was made by Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, who said Nebraska state officials “don’t believe in welfare”; of course, summer EBT is not welfare but provides food to children at a time when school meals programs are not available.

Delta Caucus partners wholeheartedly agree with the statement by Arkansas Human Services Secretary Kristi Putnam that “No child should ever go hungry. Summer EBT will allow us to further help combat food insecurity across Arkansas by providing critical resources for eligible families to provide much needed nutritious food for their children, even when school is out.”

The Arkansas Department of Education and Department of Human Services will work together to administer the program.

There were other notable advances originating in adaptations during the pandemic to meet school children’s needs. School districts started delivering food to children at their homes when schools were closed in 2020. Schools allowed families to get meals for children in the summer.

Sen. Boozman was also vital in establishing this program, which became the Non-Congregate Summer Meal Service in rural areas.

Delta Caucus partners agree with Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and other anti-hunger advocates that the passage of Act 656 of 2023 was a vital constructive action in eliminating reduced price copayments for school breakfasts and lunches.