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Maryland to provide food for 427,000 children affected by school closures

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Posted at 10:55 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 10:55:11-04

Maryland is able to provide food for 427,000 children affected by school closures thanks to approval from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer is worth over $49 million in estimated benefits which works out to $5.70 per child each day the child's school was closed in a particular month.

"We are grateful to the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA for their responsiveness and to the Maryland Department of Education and Local School Districts for their partnership in identifying and enrolling eligible students’ families in the Pandemic-EBT program,” said Maryland Department of Human Services Secretary Lourdes R. Padilla.

“Additionally, we thank Governor Larry Hogan, who has led the way in thinking strategically and has championed our determined efforts to explore every opportunity that can help vulnerable Marylanders during this crisis.”

Households with children who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals are eligible for the Pandemic-EBT benefits.

Maryland schools closed on March 16 and families will receive March, April, and May benefits in June. The benefits will continue while schools remain closed due to COVID-19.

“While local school districts and agencies are distributing meals at over 600 emergency sites across the State, this additional P-EBT benefit will help sustain students and their families through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis," said Dr. Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools.

"This federal-state-local partnership led by the Department of Human Services will dramatically help maximize the nutritional well-being of children in Maryland."

Maryland SNAP households qualifying for the Pandemic-EBT benefits will receive the additional benefits on their existing EBT card. Any SNAP recipients who have lost their EBT card may call the Maryland EBT Customer Call Center at 1-800-997-2222 to have a replacement card issued.

The Maryland Department of Education is working to identify the qualifying non-SNAP households and inform those families that they can apply for the Pandemic-EBT program.