A federal program expanding access to food resources for school-aged children during the summer months could make a big impact in Massachusetts this year.

For the first time, families in the commonwealth can receive $120 per eligible child to help bridge the gap between the end and beginning of the school year as part of Summer EBT.

It’s additional help that has local advocates hopeful about what it could mean for Massachusetts residents.

Catherine Lynn with the Greater Boston Food Bank said that food insecurity continues to be on the rise in the state. According to a recent study from the food bank, one in three households with children report child-level food insecurity.

“So every single program that is going to be in place, aimed to reduce those numbers and make sure that families and children have access to consistent, healthy, quality meals is incredibly important,” Lynn said. “And Summer EBT plays a huge role in that.”

The money from the program, which is distributed via EBT cards, must be used during the summer months.

Rebecca Miller, policy director with the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, pointed out Massachusetts made universal school meals permanent last year and summer meals helps to fill the gap when kids are out of school.

And while it’s not necessarily a lot of money, it’s still significant. As Miller pointed out, a recent report from the Greater Boston Food Bank found food insecure households in the state reported needing about $60 more per week for food.

“And so this $40 a month helps get towards closing that $60 a week gap,” Miller said. “And I think it’s important to remember that Massachusetts has seen really high levels of inflation. It’s facing a number of challenges with the cost of living. So anything that helps folks and gets them money to spend on food, other necessities of life is really important and really impactful.”

Lorraine Ward is with the Department of Transitional Assistance, which is running the program in Massachusetts along with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Ward said they estimate about 600,000 children will be eligible to benefit from Summer EBT in Massachusetts.

“Groceries, I think anybody can tell you, when you hit the store right now, what you get for the amount of money you got a few years back is not the same,” Ward said. “So having this program enables families to supplement the cost of food that has gone up really tremendously since the pandemic.”

Ward said they anticipate the first round of benefits will go out on July 25.