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Letter to the editor: Waivers are keeping kids fed during the pandemic

To The Editor:

The coronavirus has caused both a health crisis and an economic one, pushing families into poverty and hunger across Maryland.

Our schools and nonprofits have been working hard to make sure children are fed and nearly 8 million meals have been served since the start of the pandemic. One tool that has helped are waivers that allow families to pick up pre-packaged meals to take home.

These waivers help slow the spread by reducing contact with the workers and volunteers distributing meals. I urge USDA to help us feed kids safely this summer by extending the child nutrition waivers through September.

I also urge Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin to extend the new P-EBT benefits that will soon be issued to more than 400,000 low-income students across Maryland. About $114 per month in P-EBT will help families purchase food while schools are closed and all students that qualify for free or reduced-price school meals are eligible for this critically important new resource.

P-EBT benefits are currently approved for March thru June and need to be extended through September.

To participate in the new P-EBT program, families should make sure they are signed-up for free or reduced-price school meals or SNAP. The SNAP program provides benefits for food on a debit-style card and the best way to apply is to go online to “My DHR.”

The road to recovery requires that families in Maryland have the food they need for kids to thrive.

Tam Lynne Kelley

Director

No Kid Hungry Maryland

Baltimore

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