ODESSA, Texas — Many students have been receiving free or reduced-priced lunches, but the pandemic made that more difficult for a lot of students. Now, $2.5 billion are being allocated to make sure your kids stay fed.
While Ector County ISD did it's best to hand out free meals to students in the district during the pandemic, a lot of them still missed out because of online learning. The state and Health and Human Services Commission is trying to make up for that, including here at home.
"So this is like a collaborative effort effort between Health and Human Services Commission and our team, and so they provide us the resources. We just kind of help distribute it out to families," Brandon Reyes, ECISD's director of school nutrition said.
All of this being done to provide up to potentially $1200 in food benefits for the 2021-2022 school year. This is a result of the pandemic.
"I think the biggest reason why they did it is the remote learners weren't reached. We did our very best, but it is really difficult both for the families and for you know school nutrition departments just everywhere to reach the remote learner just there were so many of them," Reyes said.
Governor Greg Abbott called these benefits, which would go up from $285 last year, necessary.
"Thank you to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approving this second round of pandemic food benefits for Texas families. These additional benefits will continue to help Texans provide food for their families," Abbott said.
If you qualify, the money this new set of benefits provides would be able to be used anywhere SNAP benefits are accepted.
"The understanding is once again to help provide monies into an account so that they can use it to purchase food that they may have missed out on this school year and potentially next school year," Reyes said.
Reyes said that if information would be sent out to the district on how to sign up if you qualify.