Agencies partner to help feed over 1.1M school aged children in the wake of COVID-19
ATLANTA, GA. The Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) is partnering with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) to provide food benefits to families with children who receive free and reduced lunch. The Family First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 allows the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to facilitate the distribution of Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT).
COVID-19 related school closures impacted students’ ability to receive school-based meals. Since that time, the Department of Education assisted families by providing over 28.4 million free meals through the National School Meal Program for children 18 years and under. Meals were also delivered at bus stops across the state for children that could not get to the school locations to pick up the meals.
DFCS has already released $$244,103,635 in pandemic SNAP (P-SNAP) benefits to SNAP eligible families in the months of March, April, May and will also issue June P-SNAP at the end of the month.
Starting in July, both DFCS and DOE, under the recently approved P-EBT plan, will issue funds to eligible families to offset additional food costs caused by the pandemic. The temporary funding includes a one-time allotment of $265.50 per eligible child and is intended to prevent food insecurity for families across Georgia.
Planned for a July implementation date, P-EBT assistance will be issued to families who currently receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits and those not currently enrolled in the program. This supplement will aid more than 1.1M Georgia students who are eligible for free or reduced school lunch (based on enrollment data as of May 2020).
“We know food insecurity for students who rely on school meals during school closures is a major concern,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “This partnership with DFCS is part of our efforts to ensure Georgia’s children are fed, safe, and healthy during the pandemic.”
Families who currently receive SNAP need not apply for P-EBT benefits. Eligible SNAP recipients will automatically receive additional P-EBT benefits loaded onto their existing EBT cards by mid-July if their child was enrolled in the free and reduce meals program during the 2019-2020 school year.