Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
School meal-assistance programs help students from low-income households eat meals at an affordable price, but what happens when school is on break? This summer in Missouri, the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children program will give low-income families raising school-aged children financial assistance in purchasing groceries during the vacation months. Qualifying families will receive a card, similar to a debit card, that allots about $60 per child per month for grocery purchases. Made possible by a $230,650 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, the program's short-term goal could help feed thousands of families this summer. The USDA will evaluate the effectiveness of the Missouri program, along with two summer 2010 programs in Arkansas and Mississippi, to determine how to improve children's food security during non-school months.