BALTIMORE, April 29, 2020– Maryland Hunger Solutions applauds the Department of Human Services and the Maryland State Department of Education for partnering to successfully secure the new Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program for Maryland families who are impacted by the loss of free or reduced-price school meals during the mandated school closure.
This means that struggling families all over Maryland will have access to funding that can be used to purchase food. It won’t matter if you’re in a rural area like Somerset County, an urban area like Baltimore City, or in a suburban area like Howard County. With extra funds on EBT cards, they’ll have access to grocery stores, farmers markets and every other SNAP retailer while schools are closed.
The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program are critical components in addressing childhood food insecurity in Maryland. In the wake of state-mandated school closures, the impact that the loss of these meals has on the families of over 384,000 Maryland students receiving free or reduced-price school meals cannot be ignored. Since schools have closed their doors, Food and Nutrition Service Departments from every school district across the state have made incredible efforts to bridge this nutrition gap by continuing to provide meals to students using a “grab and go” model, and even going so far as making home deliveries in some districts. However, with school closures and social distancing requirements stretching on, more support is required to fill this growing need. P-EBT will provide that support by distributing funds to purchase food directly to families of children who receive free or reduced-price school meals, which will not only be crucial in defending these children and families against hunger, but also help to stimulate local economies as well.
Looking forward, it is imperative that we recognize the growing food insecurity among Maryland communities and work to address them with state and federal programs like P-EBT. With so many uncertainties on the horizon, we are hopeful that P-EBT will help to ease the strain on the many struggling families in Maryland and ensure that children are still receiving the nutrition they need to grow and stay healthy at home.
Maryland Hunger Solutions has set up a toll-free number — 1-866- 821-5552 — that can be accessed from anywhere in the state. Maryland residents wishing to apply for SNAP (known as the Food Supplemental Program in Maryland) can call the toll-free number, leave a message and Maryland Hunger Solutions staff will get back to them and walk them through the application process. Staff also are connecting callers with other much-needed resources, such as pantries, food banks and school meals in their local community.
Maryland Hunger Solutions works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.