Over 230,000 West Virginia students, including all public school children in Kanawha, Cabell and 41 other counties, will each get about $313 in federal money for groceries, the state announced Monday.
“It’s unbelievable, that’s all there is to it,” Gov. Jim Justice said in praising the relief.
State schools Superintendent Clayton Burch said, “It’s going to pump about $72 million into West Virginia’s economy.”
Families who already have EBT cards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also called SNAP or food stamps, or qualify for Medicaid or WV Works benefits, will automatically see the money added to their existing cards, according to a state Department of Education news release.
If you no longer have your card, you can call the state Department of Health and Human Resources at 1-877-716-1212 to request a new one, the release said. The money should arrive in or before mid-June, education department spokeswoman Christy Day said.
Families who don’t have children who benefit from those programs will receive Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, or P-EBT cards, with the money loaded on them, the release said.
“These P-EBT cards will be issued to the most recent address and guardian name given for the student to the schools,” the release said.
Day said those new cards should arrive in the mail by the end of June.
You can use the card and still continue receiving meals that have been provided by county school systems amid the statewide school shutdown, she said.
The release said the money is from the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Students who qualify to receive free- and reduced-price meals will get the money whether they’re at public or private schools, she said.
West Virginia has long been a national leader in providing meals to students through the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows counties or individual schools to serve all students free food and receive federal reimbursement for most of the cost.
Forty-three of West Virginia’s 55 counties serve free meals across their entire county public school system this way, meaning all public school students there will get the $313.
Of the remaining 12 counties that don’t serve free meals countywide using the provision, 10 still have one or more schools that qualify: Berkeley, Hampshire, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Lewis, Marion, Mineral, Raleigh and Taylor.
Only Monongalia and Putnam counties have no schools that use the provision to serve free meals schoolwide, although students who do receive free- and reduced-price meals there will receive the money.
Also, the release said parents and guardians of students who don’t receive free- or reduced-price meals may apply for inclusion at www.schoolcafe.com.