Published: March 2023

ID #: 283-5106

Publisher: Brookings Institute

Authors: Bauer L, Ruffini K, Schanzenbach DW

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Child food insecurity and child poverty in the U.S. are solvable problems. Yet, gaps in child nutrition program coverage and implementation continue to pose challenges for solving childhood hunger. This essay makes the case that in-kind nutrition benefits—both in the form of prepared meals and grocery vouchers—support a healthy and hunger-free childhood. The authors argue that federal coordination with and support for states on access and delivery is critical to ensuring that nutrition assistance reaches the children these programs are intended to serve. To illustrate the challenges with solving child hunger, the authors discuss the lessons learned from Pandemic EBT that could inform the implementation of another new program that has the potential to close the consequential summer gap in the child nutrition program patchwork: Summer EBT.

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