The Department of Agriculture says it will extend Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits for more than 30 million children to help students who may be missing the nutrition from school meals.

In a release, USDA noted the P-EBT program’s role in feeding “all low-income children of all ages.”

“By providing low-income families with a simple benefit over the summer months, USDA is using an evidenced-based solution to drive down hunger and ensure no child has to miss a meal,” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

According to USDA, children are eligible for this temporary nutrition benefit – loaded onto an EBT card that can then be used to purchase food – if they are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year or if they are under age six and live in a SNAP household. Families of eligible children typically receive $6.82 per child, per weekday, or roughly $375 per child over the summer months.

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USDA plans to provide additional guidance for the program’s operation plans for the 2021-2022 school year and the summer of 2022 later in the spring. The coronavirus relief measure passed earlier this year authorized the program to keep operating for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move comes after other USDA efforts to address hunger during the pandemic, including last week’s announcement to provide free school lunches for the upcoming school year.

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