SUN Bucks: food assistance program released

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

SALISBURY — According to the Rowan County 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment, the cost of healthy foods was shown to be a barrier to consuming a healthy diet. It was reported that 9.5 percent of Rowan County households worried about having enough food, 6.9 percent of households reported not having money to purchase food and 8.0 percent reported having to cut the size of a meal. Rowan County Health Department is promoting USDA’s newest summer food assistance program, SUN Bucks, to help further expand food and nutrition access to align with priority areas. This program may show positive impacts of increasing nutrition access and reducing out of pocket costs of healthy foods to improve health outcomes.

The USDA has launched a new, permanent program to provide food assistance to children and families during the summer. The SUN Bucks program will provide grocery-buying benefits to qualifying families with school-aged children during the summer months when schools are on summer break. SUN Bucks can also be referred to as “Summer EBT.”

SUN Bucks benefits are issued to debit-like cards (EBT cards) that families can use to purchase nutritious foods. Beginning June 2024, eligible families will receive a one-time payment of $120 per child for the summer.

SUN Bucks will be issued every two weeks from late June through September as new children are determined eligible. Households who already receive SNAP benefits will have SUN Bucks automatically added to their existing EBT card. All other households, including households with different kinds of benefits, such as Medicaid and TANF, will be mailed a new SUN Bucks card.


Who Is Eligible for SUN Bucks? 

Some families will have to apply for the SUN Bucks program, but many will automatically qualify. Children will automatically qualify if they already participate in any of the following programs:

  • Free or Reduced-Price (FRP) meals at school because they have an approved FRP application at school, or 
  • Food and Nutrition Services (FNS, SNAP/EBT, food stamps), or 
  • Work First (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), cash assistance), or 
  • Medicaid with household income below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or 
  • Foster care

Find out if your child is eligible by searching their school at 

What can you buy with SUN Bucks? 

  • Breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables 
  • Meat, fish, chicken and dairy products 
  • Bottled water and drinks without alcohol 
  • Seeds and plants that will make food 

For SUN Bucks frequently asked questions, go to 

For the SUN Bucks application, go to 

Be sure to check if you qualify for other year-round assistance programs including Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) and the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).