Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez provided updates on the SNAP for Kids program.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, or the P-EBT, is part of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
On January 22nd, in support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger, the USDA announced that it is increasing the P-EBT benefit by approximately 15%… providing more money for low-income families and children who missed meals due to school and child care closures.
Through the P-EBT, eligible school children will receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits on EBT cards that they can use to purchase food.
The USDA website states that children who received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act are eligible for the P-EBT if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days.
In an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says they are working very closely with Public Health to make sure that this program takes place. He said GDOE and DoDEA schools are eligible to participate in this program.
For DoDEA, those that qualify for support will receive it based on the number of days that the schools were not open or turned virtual. Fernandez says that their benefits will be calculated based on the estimated 40-plus days that they were closed.
However, for GDOE, there are some differences.
“For GDOE, two things are different. One is the time frame when we were virtual, which goes throughout the whole school year. That’s the length of time used to calculate the benefit. And the other thing is that — because we are a community eligible program where all students eat at no cost — that means all students are eligible, all students enrolled last school year at GDOE are eligible for the benefit,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez says that they are estimating a $1,200 allocation per student who qualifies. All GDOE students enrolled in 2021 are eligible and Fernandez says that they are in the works of putting in the details on how the benefits will be distributed.
“We’ll put together the details on how this will be distributed, but it’ll be the EBT cards that will be given to students. I think there will be three opportunities to load those cards with a monetary benefit that they can then use at those stores that accept EBT for the purchases of food,” Fernandez said.
The distributions will not be given in one lump sum, but in increments, and according to Fernandez, the distributions will be quick, likely to begin in August until the end of September.