Jennifer Desa is a teacher and her husband is a paramedic.
“None of us lost our jobs,” she said. “We were very lucky. “
Still, she said her husband saw his hours cut back during the pandemic. So the money her family received in the last school year through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or PEBT, program has made a big difference.
“It was a big help with the grocery store,” she said.
As part of the PEBT, money that families can use to buy groceries is loaded onto EBT cards for children eligible for the federal program, which includes children who would normally receive free or reduced meals. school.
“My mother is disabled and receives state allowance, so because she lives in our home, my son is automatically entitled to a free or reduced lunch,” Jennifer said.
According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website, “benefits are available during any school year in which there is a declaration of public health emergency …” for an outbreak. COVID-19 as well as during “… any covered summer period that follows …”
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“Details have yet to be announced as Florida is in the process of preparing its request to turn it over to the federal government,” said Cindy Huddleston, senior policy analyst at the Florida Policy Institute.
Huddleston said the move would provide approximately $ 820 million in food aid to more than 2 million children in Florida.
“The maximum amount would be $ 375,” she said. “It comes down to about $ 6.82 a day for the kids, which may not sound like a lot, but when you’re a family that really has a hard time eating, it means a lot to them.”
For Jennifer, that money would go a long way.
“For my family, it’s grocery shopping for a solid at least two months,” she said. “I am very thrifty. I cut. We try to make things stretch as much as possible so that we can live within our means and live a comfortable life. “
The Florida Department of Children and Families said in an email that it “… kicked off the pandemic EBT application process …” last week “… out of caution … “
The USDA sent NBC 6 a statement Thursday saying it “… has not received a summer P-EBT plan from Florida,” adding: “USDA is committed to working with the ‘State to approve its plan as soon as possible once received, but without seeing the Florida plan, the USDA cannot comment on how quickly benefits might be available to children after the plan is approved … “