Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches New Massachusetts Summer Child Nutrition Program

Federal program will bring $70 million to Massachusetts, ensuring 600,000 students and their families have access to food during summer months
For immediate release:
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Executive Office of Education

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches New Massachusetts Summer Child Nutrition Program

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston — The Healey-Driscoll administration announced today that Massachusetts has received federal approval for its summer child nutrition program. Following the ending of Summer Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), this new child nutrition program will help feed an estimated 600,000 students while schools are closed for the summer. Low-income Massachusetts families with school-aged children will be eligible to receive financial assistance to buy groceries, bringing more than $70 million in federal funds to the state’s economy.

“In Massachusetts, we are not leaving federal dollars on the table that could support children and families’ food security. In partnership with our State Legislature, we made universal free school meals permanent. And with this new program, we are working to ensure children and families have access to healthy food all year long,” said Governor Maura Healey. “I want to thank the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress for permanently establishing this child nutrition program. Massachusetts is proud to be utilizing all tools available so kids can focus on learning and play, not where their next meal is coming from.” 

“This child nutrition program is a big win because it makes sure children have access to healthy meals through the summer months, when we know families’ food costs increase. It also supports our local businesses, grocery stores, corner stores, and farmers,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This program is a win-win for everyone in Massachusetts and we can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

“Contrary to popular belief, hunger is often worst during the summer months—when kids aren’t in school and don’t have access to school meals,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “In Congress, I was proud to lead the fight to pass enhanced summer food benefits for kids to give families a little extra help over the summer months. I’m grateful to the Healey-Driscoll administration for working tirelessly to quickly implement this program and helping to ensure that every child in our Commonwealth has access to healthy, nutritious food over the summer.”

The program, known as Summer EBT, will be administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and local school districts. This new program will complement the Summer Eats program, which provides free meals to all kids and teens, ages 18 and under, at locations across Massachusetts during the summer months. Some students’ families will also continue receiving regular SNAP (federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. These programs build on the Healey-Driscoll administration and Massachusetts’ food security initiatives for children, including Universal Free School Meals, Food Security Infrastructure Grants, and the MA FRESH (Massachusetts Farming Reinforces Education and Student Health) grant program.

“Many students rely on the breakfasts and lunches they receive at school to provide them with nourishment and energy,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh. “This new child nutrition program ensures every child across Massachusetts has access to nutritious food year-round, even when they are on summer break.”

“Students cannot learn or play when their hierarchy of needs is not met – when they don’t have food to eat or stable housing. As a former superintendent, I know how important Summer P-EBT was for supporting Massachusetts children and families in the summer months. I want to thank Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration for establishing this as a permanent child nutrition program, which in combination with our Summer Eats program will help children and families access healthy food this summer and for summers to come,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler.

Eligible families will receive one payment of $120 per child between July and September, corresponding to $40 per month. Families already enrolled in SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; known in Massachusetts as Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or TAFDC), or some MassHealth plans will be automatically enrolled in the summer child nutrition program and do not need to take any action. Families who are not automatically enrolled can apply for the program directly on DTA Connect between June 15 and September 7, 2024.

“When school is out for summer break, hundreds of thousands of students across Massachusetts lose access to regular breakfast and lunch programs, putting them at a higher risk of food insecurity,” said DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue. “Summer EBT will serve as a vital resource for our youngest residents, supplying them with the nutrition they need to learn and grow.”

“This child nutrition program continues Massachusetts’ commitment to supporting school-aged children,” said DESE Acting Commissioner Russell D. Johnston. “In combination with Summer Eats, this program will help keep students healthy and ready to play and learn, even while school is out.”  

More information on the program can be found online at

Statements of Support

Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland):
“This is an easy one: every child in Massachusetts should be able to enjoy their summer without worrying about whether they are getting a nutritious meal, and every parent should not have to worry about their child eating. We were proud to take a meaningful step forward this year by making universal school meals a reality, and I’m excited to see the hard work of the Healey-Driscoll Administration and our federal delegation pay off, so Massachusetts can take another important step towards making sure our kids and families don’t have to worry about food security.”

House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy):
“While we are incredibly proud of our free school meals program here in Massachusetts, it’s imperative that students and their families have access to food during the summer months as well. With the announcement that Massachusetts has received FNS approval to participate in the summer child nutrition program, every child in the Commonwealth will now have access to nutritious food year-round, regardless of their financial circumstances. I want to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for establishing this program, as well as Governor Healey and her administration for working to secure this approval, and the federal dollars that come with it, for Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts Food System Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Kane, Domb, Donahue, Schmid and Vargas, and Senators Comerford, DiDomenico and Tarr:
“The Food System Caucus is thrilled to see the Healey-Driscoll Administration support Summer EBT. This program is a proven success in reducing child hunger during summer break, and we look forward to seeing the implementation of this program in Massachusetts.” 

State Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education:
“Ensuring that every student attending public schools in Massachusetts has free access to breakfast and lunch each day is one of my proudest achievements from my time in the Legislature. The Summer EBT program will continue to provide meals for our youth by supporting low-income families’ abilities to purchase healthy and nutritious food during the summer, while also continuing to sponsor the state’s Summer Eats program which provides meals to everyone ages 18 and under throughout the summer.”

Ashley Randle, Commissioner, MA Department of Agricultural Resources: 
“As students prepare to enjoy their summer break, families can rest assured the Summer EBT program will provide a much-needed lifeline for food access and their nutritional needs. We are grateful to our partners at the Department of Transitional Assistance for launching this program and making it easily accessible for recipients.”  

Erin McAleer, President and CEO, Project Bread:
“Project Bread is proud to partner with DTA and the Healey administration in the rollout of Massachusetts’ new Summer EBT program. Schools meals are now permanently free for students statewide, but many families experiencing food insecurity have to stretch their grocery budgets to the limit when kids are home during the summer break. With scalable, sustainable relief programs like Summer Eats and Summer EBT, the Commonwealth continues to find ways to support families and address hunger in every community.”   

Vicky Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute: 
“Summer EBT, like SNAP, is a critical tool to reduce hunger for hundreds of thousands of children in Massachusetts. We are grateful DTA and DESE have worked hard to seamlessly issue benefits to most kids and look forward to working with the Healey Administration and USDA to continue building an equitable and accessible program.”

Lizbeth Ginsburg, Greater Boston Legal Services:
“On behalf of our low-income clients, Greater Boston Legal Services is thrilled that DTA is launching Summer EBT. This new program will provide much needed support to families who struggle to afford food for their children over the summer months.”

Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO, The Greater Boston Food Bank:
“The Greater Boston Food Bank is committed to ending hunger across Eastern Massachusetts. Last year alone, we distributed more than 90 million healthy meals to people in our region and enrolled nearly 700 individuals in SNAP. Summer EBT directly supports our mission by helping to connect the youngest Commonwealth residents with nutritious food in the summer months when they do not have school breakfasts and lunches as a resource. We want to thank the Healey Administration for recognizing the value of this program and for ensuring Massachusetts families have access to this critical benefit.”

Jean McMurray, CEO, Worcester County Food Bank: 
“Worcester County Food Bank and its network of food pantries witness the increasing demand for our services every day and the need for the Summer EBT benefit program. Summer EBT is a vital resource for families that will help them ensure their children’s health and enjoyment of summer vacation.  We applaud USDA and the Healey Administration for making this program possible, so children are well-nourished and return to school ready to learn.”    
Debbie Callery, Executive Director, Merrimack Valley Food Bank: 
“Summer EBT will make such a positive difference in the lives of so many of the families we serve. Many children rely on the meals they receive at school to make up a large portion of their daily nutrition, so they may not be looking forward to summer vacation. This program will ease that struggle, meaning that just like their peers, these children can spend their time thinking about the fun activities they’ll do this summer rather than wondering whether they’ll have enough to eat. We are so grateful for the impact this program will have on our community.” 

Kristina Racek Pechulis, Executive Director, MA Food System Collaborative:
“Summer EBT will help households with children that are experiencing food insecurity feed themselves with dignity this summer. The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative is pleased to see the launch of the Summer EBT program which will provide Massachusetts students with continued food security when school is out for the summer. Food insecurity remains highest among Latine, Black, and multiracial households with children; we hope through this automatic enrollment of families currently receiving benefits, Massachusetts will work towards decreasing this inequity. Thanks for all of hard work and collaboration by the Department of Transitional Assistance and the many advocates around the state.”

Bill Rennie, Vice President, Retailers Association of Massachusetts:
“Massachusetts retailers have long been proud of our partnership with the state and federal government in participating in the SNAP and EBT programs to provide residents with access to nutritious and healthy foods. We applaud Governor Healey for the launch of this Summer EBT Program to continue to assist low-income families in buying food when school is out for the summer.” 

Jennifer Aldworth, Executive Director, MA Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs:
“The Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs believes in programs that emphasize good nutrition and develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors to nurture their well-being. Last year, Massachusetts Boys & Girls Clubs provided over 1.2 million healthy, no-cost meals and snacks to youth last year at a time when households with children were and continue to experience food insecurity. The Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs supports the Governor’s launch of Summer EBT, providing an easy way for low-income families to access food. Programs like these create critical access to nutritious meals for young people, particularly during the summer when families lose the benefit of school lunches.”  

Peter Brennan, Executive Director, New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association:
“Our stores provide essential services and are an important food source in many communities across Massachusetts. We are proud to serve families and help them meet rising food costs. We support efforts by local, state and federal officials to make sure that no family goes hungry this summer when schools are closed. School lunches are a primary source of nutrition for many children in vulnerable communities. Today's convenience stores offer many healthy food choices, and our store owners look forward to helping bridge the gap to make sure families can access quality meals year-round.”

Kate-Marie Roycroft, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs: 
“The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs is proud to support the Summer EBT program, which will be critical in supporting families that need food assistance. Food insecurity is a serious issue in our community that needs to be addressed by community agencies working together with the Commonwealth and private foundations. In 2023, the YMCAs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with their 28 associations and 700 locations, served 1,235,836 meals in youth programs, and 1,283,186 meals and snacks in early childhood and out-of-school time programs for more than 191,772 households. With the help of the Summer EBT program, we will continue to tackle this challenge head-on and help our community to become food secure in the near future.” 


Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches New Massachusetts Summer Child Nutrition Program

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