Pandemic-EBT providing Marylanders with food security
MARYLAND – The Maryland Department of Human Services and the Maryland State Department of Education received approval from the USDA to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program. State officials say about 467,000 children in Maryland will benefit from it.
These benefits called P-EBT will help families in Maryland purchase food while schools are closed due to COVID-19. Compared to regular EBT cards where you usually have to apply for, some families will automatically qualify.
Mark Thompson with Emmanuel Wesleyan says, “People still need a lot of food so they’re still managing, do they pay their bills or do they buy food.” The P-EBT gives families an opportunity to purchase groceries. However, as much as it’s providing, some local food distribution directors are seeing a decline for the need of their services. “We started seeing that sort of decline. I started noticing that the lunches at the school started to drop because people now have those EBT cards now to buy food,” says Thompson
Children who receive free or reduced-price lunch at school are eligible for P-EBT food benefits. However, if you are currently receiving SNAP benefits and qualify for the P-EBT program, your benefits will be added to your EBT card before the end of June.
Thompson says even though this program is providing more food for families, there is still a need for food pantries in the area. “But we’re also seeing at the same time an increase for families who want to purchase or receive free food, bulk food,” adds Thompson.
School districts and food pantries across the state agree by saying a program such as pandemic EBT cards couldn’t have come at a better time. “I believe which ever way we can help a family, lets do it we’re always here to provide food for them. But if that card is helping them and being an assistance I’m all for that,” says Thompson.
Thompson also says, there will be a food distribution Saturday, February 13 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at East Salisbury Elementary School and the Christian Shelter
If you want to learn more about the P-EBT cards, you can visit https://dhs.maryland.gov/p-ebt/.