U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday that Vermont has been approved to offer a supplemental food benefit program in order to help families pay for meals that children would otherwise have accessed through school.
In the 2019-2020 school year, approximately 44,000 children in Vermont, or approximately 52% of children in participating schools, were eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch, according to a statement by the USDA.
Vermont will now be able to offer the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program to families currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which operates as 3SquaresVT in Vermont, or other eligible families. Eligible families include those who have children that have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price lunch at school due to pandemic-related closures.
Over a dozen states have already been approved for this program including Massachusetts, Connecticut and California. This new program was authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
— Sarah Asch