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California Launches SUN Bucks Program to Combat Summer Hunger for Children
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By Anthony Haddad
Published 6 days ago on
June 6, 2024

California's SUN Bucks program, offering $120 per child over the summer, automatically enrolls eligible families to combat food insecurity, reflecting the state's commitment to supporting vulnerable communities. (CDSS)

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that the California Department of Social Services is introducing SUN Bucks, a new federal food program aimed at ensuring children from low-income families have access to nutritious food during summer break.

The initiative is a response to the challenge many children face when school meal programs are unavailable during the summer months.

“For kids who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs, summer break can be a stressful and challenging time,” said Governor Newsom. “Building on our ongoing efforts to support healthy food access for children year-round, I’m proud that California is partnering with the Biden-Harris Administration to provide SUN Bucks for our families so that no child faces hunger during the summer months.”

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of a worry-free summer for children. “Summer should be a time for children to play, explore, and enjoy the sunshine — not worry about their next meal. Through SUN Bucks, California is partnering with the Biden-Harris Administration in the fight against food insecurity — creating a California for ALL Kids and ensuring no child goes hungry, regardless of if they are in school or not.”

SUN Bucks Will Transfer to EBT Cards

SUN Bucks will provide $120 per child, equivalent to $40 per month over the typical three-month summer break, helping to reduce food insecurity for families who need it most. Most eligible families will automatically receive SUN Bucks electronic benefits transfer cards, which can be used like CalFresh benefits to purchase groceries.

Children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, or who receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, or Medi-Cal, will be automatically enrolled in the SUN Bucks program. California is one of the first states to implement this new food program.

This initiative follows the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 by Congress in December 2022, which created a permanent Summer EBT program. California’s Assembly Bill 120, passed in July 2023, designated the CDSS as the lead agency to implement the program in collaboration with the California Department of Education.

In addition to SUN Bucks, California’s Summer Meal Programs provide further opportunities for children to access meals during the summer. Families can locate meal sites using the CA Meals for Kids App or by visiting the Summer Meal Service Sites webpage.

To see more about the SUN Bucks program, visit the CDSS Website

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Anthony Haddad,
Multimedia Journalist
Anthony W. Haddad, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with his undergraduate degree and has an MBA at Fresno State, is the Swiss Army knife of GV Wire. He writes stories, manages social media, and represents the organization on the ground.

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