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Child Nutrition

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

The Family’s First Coronavirus Response Act authorized a new benefit called Pandemic-EBT to help families with children who would receive free or reduced-price school meals if schools were open. 

This summer PA issued P-EBT benefits for school days missed from March – June. P-EBT benefits were either loaded onto existing EBT cards for children whose households receive SNAP or placed on a plain white EBT card (like a debit card) that was mailed to the household. The benefits can only be spent on food items at any store that accepts SNAP. For more information, scroll to the bottom of our COVID Response page or the DHS P-EBT resource page

If you have not received your P-EBT from the spring, please call the state resource line at 484-363-2137 and leave a voicemail with the following information: 

  • Names of your child(ren)

  • Child(ren) date(s) of birth

  • School or school district they attend

  • Contact phone number

  • Contact email address

  • Current mailing address

  • A brief description of the issue

Reports with the details above can also be emailed to RA-PWPEBTQuestions@pa.gov 

Congress authorized P-EBT to continue and expanded it to serve younger children in the Continuing Resolution it passed in September. However, USDA only recently released guidance for P-EBT for the 2020-21 school year.  Pennsylvania’s P-EBT plan in in development and must be approved by USDA. We cannot predict the timing of P-EBT issuance but will share details as they become available.

In the meantime, with many schools throughout the region closed and students participating in online learning, school districts have established distribution sites to provide pre-packaged meals to children. You can find information on:

  • School District of Philadelphia meal sites here

  • Sites in the five-county region supported by Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (NDS) here; and 

  • Sites runs by school districts throughout Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties here (updated weekly). 

 

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)Women Infants and Children (WIC)

We are working in partnership with allies throughout Pennsylvania to improve nutrition for infants and toddlers, as well as their moms by working to improve enrollment, retention, and modernization of the WIC program. Our advocacy to improve WIC is part of a larger project led by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) and funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative that aims to increase the number of Pennsylvania children and families receiving high-quality services by 25 percent by 2023, and by 50 percent by 2025.

 

Child Nutrition Reauthorization:

Through the reauthorization process, Congress reviews all of the federal child nutrition programs:

  • The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): Provides free meals and snacks to low-income children during the summer months.
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP): Provides nutritionally balanced lunch to qualified children each school day.
  • The School Breakfast Program (SBP): Provides nutritionally balanced breakfast to qualified children each school day.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): Provides nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults in designated child and adult care centers, as well as snacks and suppers to children in afterschool programs
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Provides nutritious foods and nutrition education for low-income, at risk women, infants.
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Reauthorization is scheduled to take place every five years, although the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expired on September 30, 2015 and has not yet been renewed (instead, Congress continues to appropriate funding,  and programs continue under prior law). 

Sign up for our e-alerts and we’ll keep you informed when Congress decides to vote on a child nutrition bill!