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New benefits program will help students maintain access to healthy foods during summer

(As Seen on WISH)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Healthier food options will be made more accessible to Hoosier students during the summer with the launch of a new benefits program, the Indiana Department of Education announced Tuesday.

SUN Bucks, a new benefits program launched by the state of Indiana, will provide a one-time payment of $120 for each eligible school-age child to help purchase groceries during the summer. According to a release, this will ensure access to healthy meals for students beyond the school year.

Children are eligible for the program if:

  • The household already participates in SNAP, TANF, or income-based Medicaid, or
  • The student has been identified as a ward of the state (foster child), homeless, migrant, or
  • The student attends a school that offers the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the household income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals.
  • The benefits will be provided to eligible families on a separate EBT card and mailed directly to their home. Benefits can be used at authorized retailers, like grocery stores and farmer’s markets, to purchase healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and other protein sources, whole grains, and dairy. These benefits are available in addition to free meals that children of all ages can get at SUN Meals sites in their communities.

Most eligible families will receive benefits automatically and local schools will communicate eligibility to parents and families.

The following households will need to complete the online SUN Bucks application:

  • Households with children attending a school operating the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), where all meals are free to students and who have not been notified of automatic SUN Bucks eligibility.
  • Households with children attending a school operating NSLP who were not approved for free or reduced meals during the school year.
  • Households with children who do not attend a school operating NSLP and who receive SNAP, TANF, certain levels of income-based Medicaid, or are foster, migrant, or homeless.
  • SUN Bucks is funded by the state of Indiana and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Visit the Indiana SUN Bucks webpage to learn more about this new program and apply today.

Click here, to learn more about the new program.