Pandemic EBT card to help with food insecurities

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The pandemic has put a strain on many families in need of food assistance, especially while school is out. But now there may be a new solution this summer that may relieve some stress.

It’s called the Pandemic EBT card. Families with children eligible for free or reduced price meals will automatically receive one in the mail.

“It’s similar to SNAP or just a gift card that can be used to purchase food and when everyone receives their card or allocation, there will be some rules, rights, and responsibilities that explains the next step of instructions for activating the card.”

AMANDA HARRISON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF CHILD NUTRITION

The amount loaded onto the card will be no less than the value of school lunch and breakfast. For those that usually rely on those essential meals during the school year, this will help alleviate some of the stress and expense.

“We have heard from grandparents who are raising their grandkids who perhaps didn’t qualify for SNAP and now, due to the pandemic, the kids were no longer in school so this added to the grocery bills and unexpected expenses,” Harrison said.

If you already receive benefits on a Mountain State EBT card, the pandemic money will be transferred before the end of May.

If not, it should be by the end of June. However, both the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Department of Education asks for patience as they navigate this new program.

“It’s a really overwhelming task to the system to take on upwards to 230,000 students for a brand new public benefit so there may be some staggered and others may receive it before others do,” Harrison said. “The goal of the Department of Health and Human Services is to have those cards fully released and in receipt by the end of June.”

For more information on the Pandemic EBT, visit the West Virginia Department of Education’s website.

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