Pandemic food benefit for Mass. families OK’d through school year

Pandemic food benefit for Mass. families OK’d through school year

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has received federal approval to issue pandemic food benefits for families through the rest of the school year, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration announced Wednesday.

The administration said the families of more than 500,000 Massachusetts students in remote or hybrid learning environments will resume receiving P-EBT benefits this month.

The benefits cover school meals missed during the months of October and November for families who participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program.

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Families with children in a fully remote learning environment will receive $117 a month per child, and children in a hybrid learning environment will receive $58 a month per child.

The Baker administration estimates P-EBT will pump $40 to $60 million a month in federal dollars into the state’s economy.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity, especially for children who receive nutrition support in school settings,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.

The state initially launched its P-EBT program in April while schools were closed from March through June.

It was one of a limited number of states to receive federal approval for September P-EBT benefits and is now among the first to receive approval of the benefit through the end of the school year, the Baker administration said.

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