Today, one in seven children in Vermont face hunger in the wake of the COVID pandemic. But congressional action during this crisis has significantly blunted hardship and hunger for many families. Soon that may change. Without action from Congress, new and enhanced policies that are helping to feed more kids than ever before will expire.

Through the Build Back Better plan, Congress must make the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer program, or Summer EBT, available nationwide. It helps get more food to kids in need when schools are out of session by helping parents buy groceries in the summer months.

At the same time, the enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) is helping more families than ever before pay for food and other essential items like rent, diapers and shoes. If Congress doesn’t extend the enhanced CTC, 27 million kids across the country, including 30,000 kids in Vermont, will lose out on this critical benefit.

These programs work alongside federal nutrition programs, like school and summer meals, to get kids the nutrition they need. Expanding a program called the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, would help make sure more kids have access to the healthy meals they need with less red tape so they can focus on learning and not their empty stomachs.

Senators Sanders and Leahy, kids need your help. I urge you to prioritize these policies and programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Jason Gromley is director of government relations and advocacy at the No Kid Hungry campaign. 

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