Families needing help providing meals for their children will soon get the help they need, thanks to a new benefit authorized by the USDA.
According to a media release, the governor and Arizona Department of Economic Security say meal replacement benefits authorized by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service will help families who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
Currently, there are 600,000 students receiving free or reduced-price school meals in Arizona who are eligible for the “Arizona P-EBT Pandemic School Meal Replacement Benefits.”
“We are working to ensure no Arizona kid goes hungry during the COVID-19 health emergency,” said Governor Ducey in a media release. “Schools across the state have worked hard to get nutritious meals to kids while schools are closed, and this program will build on those efforts and provide additional relief to families struggling at this time. My thanks to the Department of Economic Security, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and everyone working to support Arizona’s most vulnerable.”
Households that are eligible will receive benefits equivalent to one free lunch and one free breakfast for each child.
The benefits are calculated based on the number of school days for which the child would have received assistance from school meal programs.
Eligible families will receive $69 for March (retroactive to March 16, 2020), $126 in April, and $120 in May, for each child. Families that have been accessing meals from schools during the closure are still eligible for these benefits.
SNAP households will also receive the maximum amount of benefits allotted for their household size for April and May, in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The governor’s office has also requested other changes and actions to make access to food easier for families across the state.
To apply for Nutrition Assistance, visit healthearizonaplus.gov or call 1-855-432-7587, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.