Pandemic EBT – What to know to access food benefits to replace school meals

 by Sarah Ritter, Manager of Public Policy, Operation Food Search

When schools in Missouri closed due to COVID-19, homes across the state quickly transformed into classrooms, kitchens turned into cafeterias, and backyards became playgrounds.  Unfortunately, it also meant many children lost crucial access to school meals, and families were left to cover the costs on already tight grocery budgets.

Luckily, families in Missouri now have the opportunity to be reimbursed for the meals they served at home!

Introducing Pandemic EBT!

Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, is a new federal program for families who lost access to school meals because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  P-EBT is a one-time payment available to households with children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.  The maximum P-EBT payment is $302 for each eligible child (pre-K to 12th grade).  This covers meals for March, April, and May.

Here’s How P-EBT Works

Families who were enrolled in SNAP (also known as Food Stamps) in March should have automatically had an additional $302 uploaded to their EBT card for each eligible child.  No need to submit an application.

Families who were not enrolled in SNAP in March but have children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will need to apply for P-EBT.  Applications can be completed online at

The deadline for P-EBT is fast approaching!  Families only have until June 30 to apply for this one-time benefit.  Help us spread the word to families across the state!

Downloadable Resource: What is P-EBT Flyer

Make the Most of Your P-EBT!

In order to help get the word out about P-EBT, Operation Food Search is excited to share our latest resource – Stock up for Summer: Make the Most of Your P-EBT!  This booklet contains information about P-EBT, suggestions for shelf-stable items to keep in your kitchen, and four fun, family-friendly summer recipes!

Download and share the resources below.

For more information about P-EBT, check out the FAQ from the Department of Social Services.

For more food resources, check out Operation Food Search’s website or follow @OFSFoodAdvocate on Twitter.

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