Iowa provides grocery vouchers to students who lost reduced lunch benefits due to pandemic

Iowa provides grocery vouchers to students who lost reduced lunch benefits due to pandemic
© (Bet_Noire/iStock)

Iowa's Department of Human Services this week began issuing grocery vouchers to families of students who missed out on receiving reduced-cost school meals due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the agency announced that families with children in prekindergarten through grade 12 who did not attend school in person during the 2020-21 school year because of pandemic-related closures would be given "P-EBT" cards to help with groceries.

Cards will be distributed through the mail to nearly 150,000 eligible children, according to the Des Moines Register.

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"We want to make Iowa families aware of the arrival of the P-EBT cards to prevent families from throwing the envelopes away, not realizing what they contain,” said Janee Harvey, who is overseeing the effort.

With the cards, families will receive benefits from eligible days that were missed from September through December 2020. The benefits are set to be deposited onto the cards in June and July of this year, the agency said.

The P-EBT cards will reportedly be accepted at stores that also take SNAP benefits.

The state initiated a similar program last year, distributing $308 grocery vouchers to more than 200,000 Iowa students, the Register reported.