Wednesday , July 24 2024
California launches new summer meal program for school-aged children

California launches new summer meal program for school-aged children

The California Department of Social Services has launched a new federal meal program called California SUN Bucks, also called Summer-EBT (S-EBT). The new permanent program will help low-income families with school-aged children buy groceries during the summer months, June through August.

For summer 2024, the state will automatically enroll approximately 5 million eligible children based on existing school and social services data.

Children will automatically get SUN Bucks if:

  • They are age 6 – 18 years and get CalFresh, CalWORKs or Medi-Cal; OR
  • They are age 0 – 22 years, attending schools that are a part of National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Programs, AND are approved for free or reduced-price meals.
  • Note: Parents and caretakers should check with their child’s school to make sure their free or reduced-price meal application or Alternative Income Form is on file.
  • Children who are attending Head Start, experiencing homelessness, living in foster care or are part of a migrant family are also automatically eligible.

SUN Bucks are put on an S-EBT card that will be mailed out during the months of June through September 2024. Each eligible child will receive one card with $120 to buy groceries – that’s $40 per month for June, July and August. The S-EBT card can be used just like a debit card to buy food like fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains, and dairy at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other places that accept CalFresh EBT benefits. Children who get SUN Bucks can still participate in other summer meal programs.

SUN Bucks must be used within 122 days of funds being loaded to the S-EBT card. Any unused money on the card after 122 days will expire. Expired benefits cannot be replaced or put back on the card.

For additional information about SUN Bucks, visit the California Department of Social Services website at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/sun-bucks.

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