Feeding Kentucky and the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy are joining with partners across the state to encourage families to apply for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits before the deadline Monday.

P-EBT helps households with eligible students who missed school meals in March, April and May by providing a benefits card that families can use to buy food. Families can receive up to $313.50 for each child who received free or reduced price meals at school prior to COVID-related school closures.

While many already have benefited, there are roughly 117,000 Kentucky students who qualify but whose parents or guardians have not yet applied.

“Kentucky families and kids who benefit from free and reduced- price school meals to make ends meet missed out because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karena Cash, advocacy coordinator at Feeding Kentucky, “Pandemic EBT gives these families some cushion, providing them with the much needed funds they need to ensure their kids have enough food to eat.”

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy estimates that if all 117,000 families applied, Kentucky’s economy would receive a boost of more than $35 million.

“Programs like these are so important in local communities,” said Tod Griffin, executive director of the Kentucky Grocers and Convenience Store Association. “It helps ensure families receive meals while schools are closed, but it also helps provide local jobs and economic resources for local grocers and retailers.”

Any student who received free or reduced price meals at school prior to COVID-related school closures is eligible. There is no income limit to participate in the program.

Benefits should have been added automatically for families with an EBT card. Families without a current EBT card or who haven’t received these benefits can apply at benefind.ky.gov.

For information about requirements and qualifications, go to feedingky.org/coronavirus/pandemic-ebt-p-ebt/.

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