Half of Michigan families with children in K-12 schools will receive additional money for food until June, as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The program, announced Thursday, will send EBT cards (used as debit cards) to families with eligible students for a free or discounted lunch at their schools. This will put extra money in the hands of the families of about 750,000 children, on half of the state’s 1.5 million kindergarten to grade 12 students.
Families do not need to register for the cards – they will arrive in the mail, under the name of the oldest Kindergarten to Grade 12 student in the home.
Families will receive a total of $ 193.80 for March and April for each eligible K-12 student, and a further $ 182.40 for May and June.
Cards will arrive in early May, with instructions on how to activate and use them before then.
Eligibility for free and reduced meals is determined by family income. A family of four qualifies with an annual family income of $ 47,638 or less. All students are eligible regardless of family income in some very poor neighborhoods.
EBT cards, also known as Bridge Cards, are used by families receiving food assistance. For families already receiving food assistance, the additional funds will be loaded onto their current EBT cards.
“Children should never go hungry. Yet because of COVID-19, it is a risk that has not been unlike any in generations, ”Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday in a statement. .
“I am happy that Michigan is the first state to deliver [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits to families who previously received free or discounted lunches, whether or not they were eligible for the SNAP program. In a time of dire need, it will be a good and small thing for nearly a million Michigan children. “
The funds are intended to cover the cost of home meals that would normally be taken in school. Michigan schools have been closed since March 16 and will remain closed until the end of the school year.
The program is estimated at over $ 300 million and is funded by federal funds.
Meanwhile, Michigan schools will continue to offer meals to all children under the age of 18, regardless of eligibility for the free or reduced lunch, until the end of the school year in June. Some school districts have meal pickup sites, and others deliver food along bus routes. You can check with your local school district for services, or find the nearest school lunch site. on this map.