Botetourt County Public Schools announced it is participating in the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program as part of a food assistance plan approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) that is being implemented statewide by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorized a temporary food assistance program for households with children affected by school closures during the nationwide public health emergency. The Food and Nutrition Service accepted state plans for the P-EBT program and, pursuant to the authority granted under the FFCRA, FNS approved Virginia’s P-EBT operational plan in late April.
Summary of State Plan
The VDSS will issue P-EBT benefits to current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households and to non-SNAP households, which include children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, through Virginia’s SNAP EBT card system. The VDSS, in conjunction with the VDOE and local school divisions, will identify eligible children in both SNAP and non-SNAP households. Households do not have to apply for P-EBT. If a student was eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals at school before the school closure, the student will be included in the file of eligible students provided to VDSS. If a school participated in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and all students received school meals at no cost, all students enrolled in the CEP school will also be included in the file of eligible students provided to VDSS.
Purpose of the P-EBT
The purpose of the P-EBT food purchasing assistance benefit is to supplement existing food assistance and nutrition programs for low-income households during the pandemic. It does not replace meals provided through the school programs operating during unexpected closures or the summer meal programs that will begin when the school year is over. Students and families who receive P-EBT should also continue to participate in other food assistance programs, such as meals provided by schools and the summer meal programs. To find current locations for school and summer meal distribution, parents and guardians should text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877.
Additional Information for Eligible Households
Visit the VDSS Pandemic EBT website or check the local school division website for more information about P-EBT.