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Shaheen Leads New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to Call on USDA to Give State Flexibility to Implement Summer Meals Program for Children

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), along with U.S. Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01), have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on the agency to support the State of New Hampshire’s participation in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT). With more than half of Granite State children living in food insecure households, it is critical that families are able to put nutritious food on the table through the Summer EBT program. If implemented, 39,000 children in New Hampshire would be eligible for this program.  

In part the Delegation wrote, “We have heard from New Hampshire families, food pantries and food security advocates that food insecurity is on the rise in New Hampshire. Recent survey data shows that over half (52 percent) of ‘New Hampshire children lived in households that reported having insufficient food.’ In recent years, New Hampshire has lagged behind the rest of the nation in its participation in federal nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and School Breakfast Program […] The Summer EBT program will be a critical tool in combatting child hunger in New Hampshire and helping families put food on the table during the summer – Granite Staters cannot afford to miss out on this resource.” 

The Delegation concluded, “As USDA considers the State of New Hampshire’s Summer EBT management and administration plan, we urge the agency to exercise maximum flexibility to make New Hampshire’s participation workable. We hope this flexibility will include working with the State of New Hampshire to determine an issuance deadline for Summer EBT benefits that is feasible for New Hampshire.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here

Senator Shaheen and the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation have fought to ensure Granite Staters are able to access the nutrition they need. In March 2023, Shaheen called on the State of New Hampshire to swiftly leverage all available federal resources to bolster enrollment in federal nutrition programs and combat food insecurity in New Hampshire. During the pandemic, Shaheen successfully led bipartisan negotiations to provide $13 billion in nutrition assistance in the emergency COVID relief legislation that was passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2020. In that measure, she secured a six-month increase to individual Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, $400 million to support food banks and food pantries and $175 million for senior nutrition services including Meals on Wheels, among other important provisions, such as expanding the Pandemic-EBT program to cover families with children younger than age six. She has repeatedly led calls to strengthen nutrition assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. She urged the USDA to expand SNAP participants’ access to the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program, and helped introduce legislation that would implement SNAP online purchasing.