How S. Carolina will help families get food in pandemic

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 3:57 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Schools not only provide children with an education, but they also provide meals that many parents depend on.

When schools closed in late March, food banks saw an increase in child food insecurity. But a new program is stepping in to help.

The pandemic led many families to face a new struggle: getting food.

“We’ve seen actually an increase from 1 in 5 children being food insecure to 1 in 3, which is a really scary number,” said Amy Breitmann, executive director of Golden Harvest Food Bank. She says Golden Harvest has seen almost three times more service requests since the pandemic started.

The new Pandemic-EBT or P-EBT program aims to help. It grants a one-time benefit of $330 per child for SNAP households and for students who attend a school that provides free meals.

The amount, $330 was calculated by the average number of days students missed in school, which is 58 days for South Carolina students. The benefit gives $5.70 per child, for each day missed.

“We didn’t want parents and students to have to apply for these funds, so we are working with the South Carolina Department of Education and local school districts to determine eligibility,” said Connely’anne Ragley, the director of communications for the state Department of Social Services.

As many as 467,000 students in South Carolina qualify for this benefit. If you’re already on SNAP, you’ll get the money added to your EBT card. If you don’t get SNAP, but attend a school that offers free lunch, the card will be mailed to you.

“I believe it comes at a good time as some programs are dwindling down, some programs have had to stop or limit their operations due to lack of volunteers or testing positive with COVID,” Ragley said.

South Carolina SNAP Households could see the benefit on their EBT card on their normal monthly benefit day. If you don’t get SNAP, but do qualify because of your child’s school, a card will be mailed to you by July 24th.

Georgia is expected to start its program service by the end of this month. For more information about the SC program or to find out if your child’s school qualifies click here.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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