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Maine Pandemic-EBT will provide funds and meals for school children in May

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Childhood has changed during the pandemic. School is online, playgrounds are a COVID risk, and parents are struggling in a whole new way to provide. But Maine Child Nutrition is trying to keep just one thing consistent: meals.

“There’s not a lot of things that are stable in their life but at least their meals can be stable,” said Walter Beesley, director of Child Nutrition in the Maine Department of Education.

He said Pandemic-EBT benefits for child nutrition will be distributed to eligible families starting in May.

“Our goal is to give them the meals, but our goal is to give them nutritious meals.”

He says that schools in Maine have to offer lunch on any educational day, and families can still access those meals with pandemic-EBT.

“It does give the families funds to provide meals for the kids, but they are able also to get meals from the school as well, so it’s a win win situation.”

Which means kids are being fed and cafeteria staff are staying employed. Families will receive $189 in May and $194 in June but first you have to apply. If you have an existing Pine Tree Card and receive SNAP and TANF benefits, you just need to look for the first benefit amount to be added to your account in May.

If you are not on SNAP or TANF, but your child received free or reduced lunch, you will need to request the benefit by calling 1-855-797-4357.

If your child or children did not receive free or reduced lunch, you can apply through your local school district. If you are found eligible you can call 1-855-797-4357. If you are newly eligible for free or reduced lunch, you will only receive one benefit amount.

You will have to provide demographic information when you call.

Pandemic-EBT explainer

Links to check your eligibility are below.

USDA https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-guidance-coronavirus-pandemic-ebt-pebt

Maine https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/sites/maine.gov.dhhs/files/inline-files/P-EBT-PUBLIC-INFO-050720.pdf

Current school survey requesting information https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/nutrition/unanticipatedschoolclosure

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