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New Cash Benefits for School Meals

Families impacted by pandemic get extra help

5/5/2020, 1:52 p.m.
The benefits will support student’s nutritional needs during a time of crisis and uncertainty.
Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will now be getting cash benefits applied to EPT cards for the meals they would have received at schools that are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Department of Education announced Tuesday that the USDA Food and Nutrition Service authorized DHS to provide Oregon P-EBT Pandemic School Meal Replacement Benefits to more than 351,000 students receiving free or reduced-price school meals in Oregon, including almost 147,000 students already receiving nutrition assistance.

Households will receive benefits equivalent to one free lunch and one free breakfast for each eligible child – $5.70 per normal school day for the months of March, April, May and June.

The benefits will support student’s nutritional needs during a time of crisis and uncertainty, said Dustin Melton, director of the state’s child nutrition programs.

Oregon families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will get the cash benefits for the meals they would have received at school even if they have been accessing meals from schools during the closure, officials said.

Eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households will have their March, April and May benefits automatically deposited to their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts by the end of May, officials said. Students who get free or reduced-price school meals from the Oregon Department of Human Services but do not receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive an Oregon Trail Card in the mail.

Families who have experienced significant income loss also become eligible for free

or reduced-price school meals, and there is still time to apply. Apply online at ode.state.or.us/apps/FRLApp/Default or contact your local school.