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San Diego Hunger Coalition, county and school district leaders, promote pandemic-EBT to address child hunger


Read the full article by Charles T. Clark on the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

An estimated 250,000 children in San Diego County are eligible for a new food program intended to help kids who are missing out on school meals.

Thousands of families still don’t know about it, local leaders said. Families are facing a June 30 deadline to apply for Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, which are worth $365 per child.

Leaders from the County of San Diego, the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego Hunger Coalition on Thursday urged local families to apply for Pandemic-EBT, a new program intended to help children who no longer have access to free or reduced-price school meals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A federal relief bill passed in March allows states to apply to the U.S.Department of Agriculture to run a Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, program to help children meet their nutritional needs.

California began implementing its version of the program in May. The state is halfway through its enrollment period.

The EBT cards can be used like a debit card to purchase food at grocery stores, farmer’s markets and some online retailers.

“The reality is no child should go hungry,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

“Many of the mechanisms we had in place in schools around free and reduced lunches helped to make sure that didn’t happen. This program helps us bridge the gap as we wait for schools to reopen and restart.”