P-EBT cards issued to students in Vicksburg Warren School District
Published 2:15 pm Friday, December 3, 2021
More than just supply chain issues may be responsible for empty grocery store shelves in Vicksburg.
Students from the Vicksburg Warren School District began receiving Pandemic Electronic Benefit (P-EBT) benefits in October and families have taken advantage of the extra dollars earmarked for food.
Administered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi was approved to participate in the P-BET program, which provides benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and non-SNAP households for children who temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures.
To be eligible for the P-EBT program, children had to meet three provisions.
They had to be enrolled in a school that had reduced attendance for at least five consecutive days, a hybrid learning option was offered and they were eligible for the Free or Reduced Lunch Program.
The VWSD is a (CEP) Community Eligibility Provision district, which is a federal program under the USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program that provides schools and school districts in low-income areas the option to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students.
“It really been a blessing,” parent Lacie Hogue said of the P-BET program.
Hogue’s son is a student at Bovina Elementary.
Students in the VWSD received an initial payment of $375, which Logue said she used to purchase meat for her family’s freezer.
The $375 was issued as a summer payment, and according to the MDHS website, payments varied from district to district depending on which months schools offered virtual and hybrid classes.
VWSD offered hybrid learning each month during the 2020-2021 school year. Therefore, each student received $61.38 for each month, which was paid out in a lump sum of $613.80.
Leigh Jolly has two sons enrolled in VWSD. One attends Beechwood Elementary and the other goes to River City Early College.
With each son receiving almost $1,000, Jolly said she assisted her father in purchasing items for their family’s Thanksgiving meal.
The total sum of money distributed in Mississippi by MDE and MDHS was approximately $246 million, and with nearly 8,000 students enrolled in VWSD, this means close to $800,000 was dispersed to local families.
P-BET cards can only be used for food, which includes fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, bread and cereals. It can also be used for snack foods, non-alcoholic beverages and seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.
Alcoholic beverages, cleaning and paper supplies and fast foods are some of the items that cannot be purchased with a P-BET card.
To learn more about the program, visit https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/pandemic-ebt-p-ebt.