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Federal program could pay for a quarter of Ward County student lunches



MINOT, N.D. – According to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, 29% of Ward County students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Those students could be getting pandemic food assistance if they have been participating in distance learning thanks to a new federal program.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer or P-EBT program will pay out between $10-12 million to students who were unable to access their regular school lunch while they distance learn.

“The purpose of this is to make sure students are fed doing the pandemic and that they don’t go without food,” said Deb Kramer, ND-DHS E.A.D. SNAP Director. NDDPI estimates that thousands of students will qualify for the benefits. “I think it will be about 26,000 students that will get some type of benefit from P-EBT,” said Linda Schloer, CNFD director.

All students who qualify will automatically receive a card.

“They get an equal dollar amount of $6.82 per day for each of the days that they are distance learning,” said Kramer. The NDDPI said parents could see the benefits in the mail within two weeks.

“The benefits are going to be issued towards the end of this week. Then of course the vendor that the department of human services works with has to send out the cards,” said Schloer.

The program will keep paying those benefits through the end of May.