Press Release

Release Date: January 30, 2024
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

WASHINGTON – The Chickasaw Nation is one of four First American tribes, 35 states and five U.S. territories to launch the permanent summer grocery benefits program for children, known as Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). The tribes plan to begin the program in summer 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The states, U.S. territories, and tribes that have committed to launching the Summer EBT program will serve close to 21 million children, providing a total of nearly $2.5 billion in grocery benefits, according to USDA estimates.

“We plan to continue offering Summer EBT benefits to families this year because this program has played an important role in helping alleviate hunger among Oklahoma children since we first implemented it in 2012. As we have gained a better understanding about nutrition and its role in overall health and wellness, we have strengthened our commitment to this program, which helps ensure proper nutrition is available throughout the year,” Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, said.

“Last year alone, our program served more than 47,000 children. Historically, this program has been available to anyone with or without First American heritage, who is income eligible. Our goal is to continue to ensure the program remains available to help meet the needs of families in our local communities."

The Chickasaw Nation, the Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation, all headquartered in Oklahoma, will participate in the program, as will the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, located in Mississippi.

The Chickasaw Nation Summer EBT for Children program provides qualifying children a monthly benefit for food purchases during the summer months. This federally funded program is available to First American and non-First American families. Benefits are placed on an EBT card that works like a debit card and allows families to purchase healthy food during the summer months.

Participation in the Summer EBT program has no impact on other government assistance families may receive. The program is available within as well as outside of Chickasaw Nation treaty territory. Summer nutrition benefits supplemented family grocery bills for 47,000 students across the state in 2023. Oklahoma ranks fifth in the nation for food insecurity, making these services critical for many families.

“Summer grocery benefits are becoming a reality for many communities across the nation and for tens of millions of children who will receive the nutrition they need to grow, learn and thrive,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “We applaud all the leaders and partners who are stepping up to make the program’s inaugural year a success. Together we’re making progress in closing the summer hunger gap and ensuring children are nourished and healthy year-round.”

Rigorous evaluations of a multiyear demonstration project showed that providing Summer EBT reduced child hunger and improved diet quality. Summer grocery benefits decreased the number of kids with very low food security by about one-third and supported healthier diets featuring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The new, permanent Summer EBT program advances the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health to enhance food and nutrition security and improve food access and affordability. It was enacted on a bipartisan basis by Congress about one year ago.

Summer EBT is one of three key mechanisms USDA is now using to tackle child hunger during the summer months. Families are encouraged to participate in all summer nutrition programs available to them. Summer meal sites provide free meals to families across the country, and many rural communities now offer to-go or home-delivered summer meals to increase access to this vital nutrition support.

In the Chickasaw Nation, the Packed Promise program delivers shelf-stable food for Chickasaw children once a month. Each household that qualifies receives one 25-pound box of food per month per eligible child. Each child also receives an EBT benefit of $15 per month to purchase fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables at local WIC-approved grocery stores or farmers markets. For more information or to apply, visit or call (844) 230-3785.

Impa’chi Meals for Kids offers meals for children ages 1 through 18 at no cost at several locations throughout the Chickasaw Nation. Location hours vary. A full list of locations, hours and contact information is available at

In 2022, Impa’chi Meals for Kids served more than 88,000 meals to children at 16 designated sites year-round and 33 sites during the summer. The program delivered nearly 680,000 meals to about 3,200 children throughout the Chickasaw Nation.

The Chickasaw Nation’s treaty territory encompasses all or parts of 13 Oklahoma counties.

For more information about the USDA Summer EBT program, visit FNS.USDA.Gov/SEBT.