Federal government providing $1 billion in pandemic food benefits for children

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The federal government is giving the State of Texas more than $1 billion for a program to help students with food insecurities.

Students on free or reduced lunches qualify for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT).

The goal is to help families who have lost access to free or reduced-price meals because of school closures due to COVID-19. Even if the school district provided free meals during the closure, students are still eligible.

Just in Bryan and College Station ISD, more than 17,000 students are eligible free or reduced lunches.

“It’s a security for these kids. It would break my heart, and I know it happened, that there’s kids that don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Bridget Goodlett, CSISD Director of Child Nutrition.

“Our student population really depends on those meals,” said Sundy Fryrear, BISD Director of School Nutrition Services.

This will be a onetime payment of $285 per child who receives free or reduced lunches.

"They're not meant to be a hand out. They're meant to be a hand up to get us through these times because there's no reason any Texan should go hungry,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

This program will work like SNAP benefits. Families that are already on SNAP benefits will receive their payment on the Lone Star Card starting May 22. Families that are not on SNAP benefits will have to apply for the funding.

BISD and CSISD will be giving out information to those who can apply after June 1 when the information is provided to them by the state.

You can learn more about P-EBT by clicking here