No Kid Hungry Responds: Coronavirus

Photo: The Student Support Network in Baltimore County organized a food distribution event for families in need.

Thousands of vulnerable children are losing the healthy meals they depend on with schools closed because of the coronavirus. Just as the outbreak has closed schools, it has also closed most businesses, leaving many families out of work and struggling to afford food for their kids. No Kid Hungry has a plan make sure they are fed, during this crisis and in its aftermath.

During the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic, No Kid Hungry Maryland has awarded a total of $188,400 in emergency grant funding to school districts and community organizations across the state. (Press release.) This funding will help ensure that kids continue to get the nutrition they need while schools are closed amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more here.

New Food Benefits for Families with Students that Qualify for Free or Reduced-Price School Meals

  • The new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) will help Maryland households with children who temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. Learn more.
  • Approximately 467,000 children in Maryland will benefit from the program for a value of over $49 million per month in estimated benefits. Each student will receive $5.70 per day that schools are closed due to the pandemic – about $370 total (March, April, May and June) to help put food on the table.
  • All Maryland students that qualify for free or reduced-price school meals are eligible for P-EBT benefits. All students at Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools are eligible for P-EBT. (In CEP schools, ALL students receive free breakfast and lunch.)
  • Families can apply for free and reduced-price school meals now and at any time during the year by filling out a school meal benefit application. Click here for meal benefit application information for each school district in Maryland.
  • All low-income students are eligible for free and reduced price meals and P-EBT benefits, regardless of immigration status. Information on the school meal benefit application is not shared with the federal government.
  • P-EBT flyer

Find Free Meal Sites Near You

  • For free meals for all youth ages 18 and under, visit MDSummerMeals.org to find sites near you.
  • This website is updated regularly and includes schools and community sites that are serving meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit this page for information about schools serving meals in your area during the pandemic.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • SNAP provides nutrition benefits on an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card to support families in purchasing healthy food.
  • Monthly benefits have been increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more here.
  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, SNAP can now be used to buy groceries online for delivery. More information is available here.
  • For more information about SNAP, please visit the Department of Human Services website.

Flexibility for the Child Nutrition Programs

  • Child nutrition waivers give schools and community organizations the flexibility to feed kids while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic. These waivers extend through August 31st, so that organizations will be able to continue safely feeding children in need through the summer months – one of the hungriest times of the year for kids who rely on free and reduced price meals. No Kid Hungry Thanks the USDA for Extending Nationwide Child Nutrition Waivers
  • View all waivers available in Maryland on the USDA website.
  • View some sample menus from sites serving Grab-and-Go meals during the pandemic here.

When Schools Re-open, Let’s make sure they are Hunger-Free

  • The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools in high-poverty areas to serve universal free breakfast and lunch. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more schools are now CEP-eligible and the deadline to elect CEP is now August 31, 2020.
  • Fact Sheet on CEP During COVID-19
  • Learn more