Pandemic SNAP benefits to provide relief to families

Pandemic SNAP benefits to provide relief to families

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Parents with kids on free or reduced lunches at school will be getting some extra money due to kids being out of school for COVID-19, but all families in certain school districts will be getting the money.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services says for each child enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program at their school, the family will get $319.

This is all thanks to the Pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The state was approved to provide the Pandemic SNAP benefits since Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a public health emergency and all schools were closed.

For students enrolled at a school or school district that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision, which provides free lunches to every student in the school, every family will get the extra money.

The Jonesboro Public Schools is one of those districts that participates in the CEP Program.

Mandy Zipfel is an assistant principal at Microsociety Magnet School, and she says the extra money will help families during this time.

“We’ve had several parents who have lost income because they’ve lost jobs,” Zipfel said. "We have families who’ve had to double up and so there’s lots of extra kids in the home. So, any extra support, you know parents weren’t really equipped and ready to be feeding their kids three times a day when school let out in March.”

Meiandra Pree has kids in Jonesboro Public Schools.

She said this will be a big help for families who may have a harder time providing meals for their children.

“For some children, that might be the only balance meal they received,” Pree said. “ So if their moms or their fathers or whoever, their caretakers can provide the adequate nutrition, that helps out a lot.”

We have received a lot of questions regarding Pandemic SNAP and Emergency SNAP supplements. Check out this graphic for answers to your most frequently asked questions!

Posted by Arkansas Department of Human Services on Friday, June 5, 2020

This is a one-time payment to help cover meals that would have been provided during the school year.

For people who are already enrolled in SNAP, you will see the additional benefits on your EBT cards in late June, DHS said.

The following school districts in Region 8 are considered CEP schools:

  • West Side (Cleburne County)
  • Jonesboro
  • Nettleton
  • Earle
  • West Memphis
  • Cross County
  • Mammoth Spring
  • Paragould
  • Midland
  • Cedar Ridge
  • Newport
  • Hoxie
  • Blytheville
  • KIPP Delta Charter (Blytheville)
  • Trumann
  • Forrest City
  • Bradford
  • Augusta

For the families that do not receive SNAP, the Arkansas Department of Education has given DHS your address and an EBT card will be mailed to you. Those cards will be mailed in late June as well.

Only food can be bought with the money and it has to be a SNAP-eligible item. For a list of those items, click here.

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