TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) – The U.S Department of Agriculture has released more than $2 billion in food aid for low-income children, and families in East Texas are already feeling the impact.
School is out, and many parents could be facing food insecurity during the summer months. School administrators say federal funding and district feeding programs could help fill the gaps.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where school is out for the summer and students don’t have access to those resources,” said Texarkana Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Doug Brubaker.
Not only is food an issue, but some parents are struggling financially due to the pandemic. For kids on the free and reduced lunch program, the USDA will issue SNAP payments for food through the Lone Star Card. Payments could be up to $1,200 per child for the summer.
Payments are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act’s program called PEBT (pandemic electronic benefit transfer).
“It’s pretty typical especially with the pandemic. Having impacted people so adversely and economically that those resources are really valuable,” said BruBaker.
The TISD school system says they have one of the largest populations of low-income students in the area. They provide about 800 meals per day during the summer.
“We’re really pleased to be able to offer this opportunity for families to make sure kids get a healthy meal,” said Brubaker.
Families also can take advantage of Texarkana Independent School District’s “Summer Feeding Program”.
Children 18 and under can pick up breakfast and lunch meals on weekdays at one of 12 locations on the Texas side.
“The bottom line is that there is no qualification criteria this summer. That we’re just serving meals to everyone,” said Brubaker.
If a family qualifies for free and reduced lunch but doesn’t have food stamps they can apply online for USDA funding. The application opens Wednesday, June 2nd, and closes on August 13th.