‘Huge weight off my shoulders’: Families struggling to pay for summer meals to receive food assistance

SPOKANE, Wash. — Relief is coming for families struggling to pay for their kids’ meals this summer.

Beginning in August, Washington families will receive one-time payment of $391 added to each of their child’s pandemic-EBT card at the beginning of August to pay for summer meals.

Any school-aged kids on the state’s for free or reduced lunch program qualify.

“They’re at home more, so usually the school provides breakfast or lunch, you know we only have to do snacks or dinner, so to have to do breakfast and lunch you know, that’s double, triple times our food,” said Shawntee Perry, a mom of 2.

Angela Clark, a mother of four growing boys, is also struggling with her grocery bill this summer.

“My kids are wanting their protein meals a day, because they’re teenagers. They’re working out, they’re wanting to eat healthy, that’s just what they’re being taught in school but we can’t do that and this is a way of doing that,” Clark said.

Perry and Clark’s kids qualify for free and reduced school lunches, but with school out for the summer, these moms are on their own.

“Maybe the county helped me with two weeks worth, and then the other two weeks, I’m pretty much at like food banks or like some type of assistance,” Perry said. “This helps out a lot because now I’ll get it for both of my kids, and now it won’t be that hard on me.”

Families with kids under the age of six enrolled in the state’s basic food assistance program will also automatically qualify.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders, like I think for everyone, not just for me but for everyone in this town,” Clark said.

Newly eligible kids will receive an approval letter later this month, and their P-EBT card will be sent in the mail.

For families that have lost or misplaced their P-EBT cards, you can call 888-328-9271. If your address has changed, you can call the P-EBT Contact Center at 833-518-0282.

You can find more information on Pandemic EBT cards here.

READ: Applications required for free and reduced school lunches next year