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Fewer Missouri Children Expected to Go Hungry This Summer

Missouri ranks among the top ten states with the highest percentage of food insecure households. (Jacqueline Sosa/Pixabay)
Missouri ranks among the top ten states with the highest percentage of food insecure households. (Jacqueline Sosa/Pixabay)
June 5, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Breaking the cycle of poverty is more difficult when kids go hungry, and that's especially true after school lets out for the summer. With that reality in mind, a USDA program in the state is expanding, allowing several thousand more children to be eligible for food support this summer.

Kimberley Sprenger with Missouri Department of Social Services said in addition to Kansas City and St. Louis, they'll be reaching out to impoverished rural communities in New Madrid County with the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children project.

Damaging storms also led to the need for services in two other southern Missouri counties.

"We asked for special consideration to serve some of our flood-impacted counties and we selected Carter and Ripley counties to offer the program,” Sprenger said.

Families in those areas were not only hard-hit by flooding, some schools were forced to close early for summer.

The cards allow families to purchase healthy foods, as outlined by the USDA. Missouri ranks among the top ten states with the highest percentage of food insecure households, meaning they can't rely on a steady supply for their needs.

Sprenger said food insecure families can use the EBT cards to buy a variety of foods and even plants.

"Breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat,” she said.

The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children, or SEBTC, project is expected to serve more than 20,000 Missouri kids this summer.

Kevin Patrick Allen/Cynthia Howard, Public News Service - MO