Governor McKee, DHS Announce Additional Food Benefits (SUN Bucks) for Eligible Children this Summer

Published on Monday, June 17, 2024

Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) announced today that the State is issuing SUN Bucks (also known as Summer EBT) benefits to eligible children for the months of June, July and August. With the support of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, DHS will provide a lump sum benefit of $120 for each eligible child as part of a nationwide effort to reduce childhood food insecurity during the summer months.

DHS expects to issue more than $10 million in federal SUN Bucks benefits on EBT cards to approximately 90,000 school-aged children this summer. These funds have been secured through administrative expenses covered in the Governor’s FY25 Budget in the amount of approximately $800,000. These benefits can be used to buy food at any store that accepts SNAP benefits.

SUN Bucks provides a benefit to school-aged children who receive certain DHS benefits or who are income eligible for free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Any child who was enrolled in a school that participates in the NSLP during the 2023-2024 academic year and meets the income eligibility standards for school meals is eligible to receive the SUN Bucks benefit, including kids who graduated high school in 2024. DHS confirms NSLP enrollment from a list received by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE).

“Summer EBT is one of many important initiatives we have in place to help Rhode Island families and children access healthy food all year long,” said Governor McKee. “A top priority of my administration is to advance the health and wellbeing of Rhode Islanders, and this program goes a long way toward supporting the nutritional needs of our families.”

“For many, school lunch can be the only meal kids consistently get so it is important that we do what we can to help children meet their nutritional needs when school ends.  SUN Bucks will help keep kids fed, healthy, and active all summer,” said DHS Director Kimberly Merolla-Brito. “Families should be aware that DHS may also be able to provide other safety net services and supports for those with demonstrated need.”   

“Our kids’ learning, growing, and playing does not stop over the summer break and neither should access to nutritious meals,” said RIDE Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “We’re proud to partner with DHS and our state partners in raising awareness and getting these benefits out to children and families in need. Working collaboratively, we are making progress towards closing the gap in our kids’ physical and mental development.”

Children ages 6 to 18 in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Rhode Island Works, and Medicaid, if income eligible, will automatically receive the SUN Bucks benefits to their EBT card. Eligible children who do not already have an EBT card will have a card mailed to them. Households may receive more than one card if they have more than one eligible child. Some households will have received a new card by mail, but SUN Bucks will not be accessible until July 1. 

If you believe you are eligible for SUN Bucks but do not receive a benefit when it is made accessible on July 1, you can email a SUN Bucks application to DHS at The application is available on the DHS SUN Bucks web page at An online application will also be available by the end of June.

Questions about the SUN Bucks program can be directed to United Way by dialing 2-1-1, where customers can also receive assistance with completing applications. Additional information and resources about the program can be found online here: