Helping Kids Eat Healthy: It’s in the Cards

—  Joe Doherty, Group President ACS Government Solutions

Although it’s the middle of winter, let’s talk about summer.

For most kids, summer is a time of recreation and fun. But it also means some children don’t get the healthy meals served in school breakfast and lunch programs. Without those meals, kids could have health issues and even learning problems when they go back to school.

One solution is the federal government’s Summer Food Service Program, which helps low-income families pay for healthy foods. To make the program even more effective, the government has looked at other programs that have succeeded in promoting healthy habits. For example, in Michigan, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program works with ACS to help people buy nutritious foods using an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card. It’s like a debit card they can use right at the checkout line.

The card is a far cry from the days when paper coupons were used to distribute benefits. Plus, the card reduces errors and better protects stores from fraud.

The Michigan’s WIC EBT program will be used to deliver summer food benefits to 7,500 children in the state over the next three years. Programs in four other states are being tested, with the goal of delivering benefits to people as quickly and efficiently as possible.

ACS’ WIC EBT program was designed to be flexible so that new benefit programs could easily be added to the card—and in Michigan, that’s exactly what happened. It is one example of our commitment to creative solutions that help government agencies improve services and focus on quality programs.

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