New Ohio EBT/SUN Bucks program to feed more kids this summer

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service

Eligible Ohio families will receive $120 this summer to buy groceries for their children through a new summer EBT/SUN Bucks program.

Brigette Hires, director of the Office of Nutrition for the Ohio Department of Education, said children whose caregivers cannot afford to buy enough food during the summer are at higher risk for food insecurity and learning loss. She pointed out that children are automatically eligible to receive the one-time $120 benefit in the coming months if their families are on SNAP, Medicaid, or the Ohio Works First program and are certified by their school to receive free or reduced-price meals.

“All of those children, if they’re between the ages of 6 and 18, will automatically get this benefit again, with no further action needed on the part of that household,” Hires explained. “We’re estimating right now about 837,000 children will benefit from this program. “

The funds will be credited to families’ existing Ohio Direction Card, or a new card will be issued in the mail. The card can be used to buy fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains, and dairy at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and other retailers accepting SNAP-EBT benefits.

Hires noted parents who are not enrolled but believe their child may be eligible can fill out an application by visiting

According to the U.S. Census, hunger in Ohio is above the national average. Ohio sits at 11.5%, while the U.S. average is 10.4%. 
If you factor in race, 25% of African Americans are considered food insecure compared to 18% of the Latino population. 

Hires added that parents and households can also look for a local Summer Food Service Program site. These sites offer regular summer meals through schools and community agencies. A map of sites is online.

“If a person goes to, and they search ‘SFSP summer food source program,’ then they’ll see the option for the Summer Food Service Program or SUN meals, and that will take them to the map. “

According to the Children’s Hunger Alliance, only one in 10 children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year have access to summer meals.

Cover Photo: Feeding America estimates that 22 million children nationwide experience hunger each summer, because they miss out on nutrition programs through their schools. (Adobe Stock)

Publisher’s Notes: New Ohio EBT/SUN Bucks program to feed more kids this summer was first published by Public News Service and republished with permission.

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