‘SUN Bucks’ food program launches in ENC

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – North Carolina has launched the ‘SUN Bucks’ program to prevent child hunger this summer, benefiting more than one million students.

The program provides a one-time payment of $120.00 for groceries when children are not in school.

While James Lewis doesn’t have grandchildren who qualify, he still supports the initiative.

“Any time a parent can get help raising their kids, especially for food, that’s a good thing,” Lewis said.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, SUN Bucks is a federal program separate from SNAP benefits. Families receiving SNAP will have the funds added to their EBT cards, while those not on SNAP will receive a SUN Bucks card by mail.

Eligibility includes children participating in free or reduced-price meals, food, and nutrition services, Work First, Medicaid with household incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level, or foster care.

Purchases can be made at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and some online retailers.

Pitt County Department of Social Services Program Administrator Bryan Averette emphasized the benefits of buying from farmer’s markets, stating it supports the local economy.

Families not automatically qualified can apply online at www.ncdhhs.gov by August 31st.

SUN Bucks will issue biweekly from late June through September.