The pandemic and ensuing economic crisis have exacerbated the need for families to receive food assistance for their children. Now, in partnership with the federal government, the state of Oregon is receiving additional benefits for hundreds of thousands of families.
With federal approval, the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Department of Human Services are teaming up to feed students in need across the state through a program that brings in federal dollars.
In September, the agencies received approval to provide Pandemic EBT benefits to more than 300,000 students statewide, providing them with "increased food security" if their families are eligible for the USDA's national school lunch program.
Benefits began disbursal on Sept. 28 and the program includes $35.6 million in federal funding. Recipients, according to a press release, will potentially see a pair of deposits on their Oregon EBT cards. The first deposit would be an initial deposit of $100, and a second deposit would apply for all students receiving an amount over $100. Amounts can change based on school district, so keep an eye on your local school district's social media or website for details.
"These additional federal funds provide much needed assistance for our families as they manage the transition back to school," Dan Haun, ODHS Self-Sufficiency Programs Director, said in the release. "We hope these benefits bring some relief to families facing today's uncertainties."
Students are required to be enrolled in an eligible school to receive benefits, so consult your child's school district for information on eligibility. There is no application process and those who qualify will receive assistance if it is offered in their district.
Students who are already eligible and currently receive SNAP benefits, or who have been mailed their EBT card already, will see funds deposit on their current card. Families can request a new card if necessary by contacting ODHS. New cards will be mailed in October.
"Child Nutrition Programs know that the P-EBT benefit plays a crucial role in supporting students' nutritional needs during this time of crisis and change," ODE School Nutrition Program Manager Damasita Sanchez said in the release. "We appreciate the partnership with DHS to provide this critical support for Oregon communities."
P-EBT families who are also eligible for SNAP benefits should check their eligibility for the programs or apply for them at apps.state.or.us/onlineApplication/#NewClientAccount. Eligible students, the release said, will receive up to $176 depending on their school district's start date. For further details, visit www.oregon.gov/dhs/assistance/food-benefits/pages/p-ebt.aspx.
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