Pennsylvania families to receive $1 billion in food assistance for kids who aren’t getting school meals

Written by on March 25, 2021

Pennsylvania families to receive $1 billion in food assistance for kids who aren’t getting school meals

By Kate Giammarese / WESA

March 25, 2021

Photo | Jessica Kourkounis / Keystones Crossroads via WESA

The federal government has approved a plan by Pennsylvania officials to send more than $1 billion in food assistance to families whose kids aren’t getting school meals. 

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The state will distribute the funds to the families of more than 900,000 Pennsylvania schoolchildren in several rounds beginning in late April. 

Pandemic-EBT benefits aim to make up for the loss of breakfasts and lunches kids would have eaten at schools that remain closed or that are operating on hybrid schedules. 

“We had to develop a plan for not only students who are attending their schools remotely, but also students who have what are called hybrid or blended models where they have some days in person and some days not in person,” says Cathy Buhrig, a policy director at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

The cost of eating at home has been hard on some families. 

“We have heard from families across the state about how difficult and burdensome it’s been to have students at home and how that impacts their budgets,” Buhrig says.

The pandemic has increased food insecurity in the region by more than 40%, according to one recent estimate.

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