Merkley Announces Reinstatement of Critical Child Food Assistance Program in Oregon

WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will once again administer a critical program that has helped fight hunger during summer months among children in Oregon, after providing no justification for failing to provide the support last summer.

Senator Merkley used his position as the top Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the USDA to require the agency to reinstate the program in Oregon for the next three years.

“Every child in Oregon—regardless of the color of their skin, the town they live in, or where their parents work—deserves nutritious meals all year long,” said Merkley. “But when schools close for the summer, tens of thousands of families struggle to keep food on the table for their kids. I fought to push the USDA to reverse course on their senseless limits to this program. I’m glad to be able to announce today that Oregon’s children in need will once again have access to nutritious meals through this program next summer.”

“One in five children in Oregon are food insecure,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of Oregon Food Bank. “Oregon Food Bank is thrilled that the proven, effective Summer EBT program will once again be available to fight hunger when school is out.” 

Senator Merkley has been a strong proponent of the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program since it was founded in 2011. The program, which gives families with children additional resources to buy food throughout the summer, has helped almost 72,000 children in 45,105 households across 27 of Oregon’s 36 counties.