DHS program helps provide food for kids who usually eat meals at school

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(WTAJ) — Since March, students who rely on getting their meals in school aren’t getting them. But there are programs designed to help struggling parents feed their families.

Pandemic electronic benefits transfer supplemental payments (P-EBT) help families with kids who are eligible for free or reduces meals under the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program.

This pandemic-related program started when schools began shutting down.

“These programs are temporary in nature and designed to help meet the gap left by schools closings due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Teresa Miller said.

Miller said they’ve seen a 7.1% increase in SNAP enrollment since February.

“Enrollment for SNAP has increased by about 123,000 people since February for a total of 1.86M in April,” she said.

P-EBT benefits will be provided to all eligible children regardless if they receive snap benefits. Those eligible students will be identified with help from the state’s Department of Education.

“I think this pandemic has showing a lot of us that us that this can happen to anybody, and right now, this is happening to a lot of people who never anticipated that they might need our agency services,” Miller said.

P-EBT will be issued until June 12, which is the day more than half of the students affected would start their summer vacations.

For more information about this program or other DHS services, you can visit dhs.pa.gov.

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