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Families with students in the free lunch program will receive benefits to cover meals during pandemic

New York State is receiving about 2.2 billion dollars in federal food assistance for the children who were unable to access the free school meals during the pandemic.

The program is called the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program and all eligible students will receive $132 in food benefits for every month they fully participated in remote learning, and $82 per month of hybrid learning.

The free lunch program in NYS schools is used to close a critical gap for children from families facing food insecurity. These benefits will help families who have faced these issues amid the pandemic.


About 2.5 million children in the state participate in the free lunch program. Families will receive the benefits in two phases. The first will be immediately and the second will start in late July through August for the spring semester.

If a family utilizes an EBT card the benefits will be loaded directly onto their account. Those who do not use an EBT card will receive a letter explaining how to access the funds.



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