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Governor Sanders, DHS, and ADE announce launch of summer EBT Program applications


LITTLE ROCK — Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) today announced that the state of Arkansas has formally launched the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program applications, a new grocery benefits program that provides families $120 for each eligible school-aged child to buy groceries when school is out. Governor Sanders announced Arkansas’ participation in this new benefit program on January 2nd, 2024.
“No child in Arkansas should go hungry. I’ve tasked my administration with tackling childhood food insecurity and was proud to sign our state up for the Summer EBT program, which fills critical gaps for households during the summer months,” said Governor Sanders. “As this program takes off, I’ll continue to work with stakeholders like Senator John Boozman, who helped enact Summer EBT on the federal level, to give our children access to the meals they need.”
“Summer is a time when many children lose access to the free and reduced-price meals they get at school, and when households might need a little extra help putting meals on the table,” said DHS Secretary Kristi Putnam. “It’s important that families are able to feed children healthy and nutritious meals even when schools are out of session, and we are proud to make this program available to help ensure that no child goes hungry this summer.”
“We are pleased to launch the Summer EBT program, which provides additional resources to families who may struggle with food insecurity during the summer months. With this program, families will receive $120 in benefits to ensure children have access to healthy meals. By providing assistance this summer, students will return to school this fall healthy and ready to learn,” said ADE Secretary Jacob Oliva.
Many eligible families will get these benefits automatically, but some parents will need to apply. Children are automatically eligible and don’t need to apply if their household participates in SNAP or TEA, or if they individually applied for and were approved for free meals through the National School Lunch Program.

The new program is in addition to free meals that kids of all ages can get at summer meal sites in their communities.
The $120 benefit will be provided on pre-loaded EBT cards similar to ones used for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These cards, which will be sent separately to each eligible child in a family, can be used by families to purchase groceries. The cards are expected to be mailed out by the beginning of July.
Combatting food insecurity, especially among children, is one of Governor Sanders' top priorities. She signed legislation during her first legislative session that gives free breakfast and lunch to students who previously qualified for reduced meals. She has also directed her staff to work with stakeholders on a plan that will address this critical issue.
For more information about Summer EBT and to find out if you automatically qualify or need to apply, visit ar.gov/SummerEBT.