This summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch a new permanent nutrition assistance program known as Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer. Estimates suggest the program could reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition for 29 million school-aged children if implemented nationwide.

As of January 1, 2024, over 30 states, territories, and Indian Tribal Organizations have announced their intent to participate in the new federal Summer EBT Program. A handful of states had also declined to participate.

“The goal is to make it as seamless as possible for everybody, but it is a new program, and people will have to set up systems,” says Crystal FitzSimons, director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs at the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). “With each passing year with Summer EBT, I think it will be easier for everybody.”