SALEM, Ore. — Oregon and the federal government have partnered up to extend SNAP benefits to families with kids that would be receiving free or reduced-price meals if they were still in school.
While school districts have done their best to extend free meals to students stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service authorized Oregon agencies to help by offering cash benefits to families of more than 351,000 students in Oregon. This includes almost 147,000 families who already receive SNAP benefits.
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.
“Together, DHS and ODE are working to ensure no child in Oregon goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dan Haun, DHS Self-Sufficiency Programs Director. “This resource is the result of our strong collaboration and will provide additional support for child nutrition and expand families’ options for healthy food.”
Eligible SNAP households will have their March, April and May benefits automatically deposited to their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts in late May. Students who get free or reduced-price school meals but do not already receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive an Oregon Trail Card in the mail.
“The approval of this program highlights the tremendous partnership between ODE and DHS and our shared desire to strengthen our communities,” said Dustin Melton, Director of ODE’s Child Nutrition Programs. “The P-EBT program will support student’s nutritional needs during a time of crisis and uncertainty.”
Benefits will be retroactive to March 16 for students who received free and reduced price meals when schools closed. For newly eligible free or reduced-price meals or SNAP households, benefits will start at the beginning of the month they become eligible. Eligible families will receive the following for each child:
- $69 for March
- $126 in April
- $120 in May
- $69 in June