Louisiana will be able to feed roughly 611,430 students through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new “Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program.”
Families of children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at public schools may be able to receive taxpayer-funded financial assistance to cover the cost of meals the families the never paid for in the first place.
All Louisiana public school and many non-public school facilities have been closed since March 16.
P-EBT benefits will be offered to households who apply if their children are in enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade and have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals.
The benefits are slated to cover 50 school days, from the onset of statewide school facility closures through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
But these children have already been eating at home since March 16.
Yet– through federal bailout money families of an estimated 611,430 children– or 85 percent of all students–will receive additional money for food.
The P-EBT benefit amounts to $5.70 per day per child. That’s $285 for 50 days per family.
Louisiana officials estimate the state could distribute nearly $174.3 million via P-EBT through federal funds made possible by imploding the national debt.
Local school systems will notify families who might be eligible for P-EBT. Once they are notified they can apply to receive benefits– as a reimbursement? The majority of public school students haven’t been starving since March 16.
Yet– each family in Louisiana and others in 22 states, will receive in the mail a P-EBT debit cards. In Louisiana the amount per child is $285.
State officials expect cards to be mailed beginning May 26. Benefits will be available for 365 days.
The cards may be used at any store that accepts SNAP to buy SNAP-eligible food items.
Many Louisiana public schools already are providing emergency or “grab and go” meals to children regardless of the child’s enrollment, family size or income, after receiving emergency permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture– the State Department of Education states.
The P-EBT program was authorized by Congress in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. In addition to Louisiana, more than 22 other states participating in the program.