USDA approves Ohio's pandemic EBT program to help families during crisis

Posted at 2:08 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 14:08:06-04

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Ohio’s pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program that will help families with children who have gone without meals due to school being closed.

“With schools in Ohio closed through the end of the school year, this will provide schools with another tool to fight hunger during this difficult time," Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge said.

According to Fudge’s office, the bill will allow the Secretary of Agriculture to give pandemic EBT benefits to children who normally receive reduced price or free lunches.

“As we begin to take precautionary measures to prevent the coronavirus by closing schools, there is no better time than the present to prepare to guarantee vulnerable Americans are fed during this and future public health emergencies,” said Fudge. “Although it may be necessary to close schools, it is also imperative that we keep in mind that school meals are often the only meals some students receive daily. No child should be at risk of going hungry as we address any public health crisis. I’m proud to introduce this emergency legislation to ensure families and children are not concerned about where their next meal comes from, but instead, can focus on remaining healthy and safe.”

Fudge introduced the legislation with Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott.

“Public health emergencies are particularly dangerous for low-income families that are already struggling to cover the cost of basic essentials,” said Scott. “The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program — or P-EBT – provides emergency funding to ensure that these families do not go hungry as we combat the spread of coronavirus. The Department of Agriculture is prepared to implement this program; all Congress has to do reauthorize and fund it. This is a necessary, commonsense response that will help avert hunger and hardship for communities across the country.”

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