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Summer EBT 

The Summer EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) Program is a new federal program that provides money to low-income families with school-aged children to purchase food when schools are closed for the summer.  Unfortunately, the Idaho Legislature did not vote in favor of this program for summer 2025, but we will continue to advocate for this opportunity for Idaho’s children in future sessions.  

The Summer EBT program would give eligible families $40/child each month during the summer when the free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunch program is unavailable. The state of Idaho would be covering administrative costs – the cost of providing the money for families to buy food comes from the US Department of Agriculture.  

Studies show that children with food insecurity struggle in school and often have physical health and behavioral issues. Food insecurity is the lack of access to sufficient food, or food of an adequate quality, to meet one’s basic needs. Any assistance that provides regular access to food when a family is in need will make a significant impact on the health and well-being of their children and give families one less burden if they are already having a difficult time with housing, transportation, or medical costs.  

The Summer EBT program is different from the Summer Food Service Program for kids. The Summer Food Service Program makes food available for kids at specific locations. The new Summer EBT program would be particularly beneficial for children in rural Idaho because it would not require a trip to a specific Summer Food Service location.   

Not every child who attends a school with free school lunch would automatically qualify for Summer EBT. The income of a child’s household would have to be equal to or below 185% of the federal poverty level. Money on these EBT cards could only be used for food.  

The Idaho Foodbank Leadership and our Board of Directors supported Idaho participating in the Summer EBT Program and will continue to advocate for Idaho to implement this program in the future for Idaho children.  

You can read a column from The Idaho Foodbank’s President and CEO, Randy Ford, about Summer EBT at the Idaho State Journal here