Pandemic relief: NYC public school kids will get $375 summer meal benefit

(Courtesy of Stew Leonard's)

Families who have children in the New York City public school system will receive money under an ongoing federal COVID pandemic relief program to help feed kids over the summer.

New York's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, or OTDA, announced Monday that under the Coronavirus Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, families will receive $375 for every child who is eligible for free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act. 

All New York City public school children are eligible for free lunch regardless of family income so all families should receive the benefit, which is retroactive to 2021.

The program was launched to help families pay for meals for children who were learning remotely during the height of the pandemic when they'd normally receive free lunch at school.

"Children who receive free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program are eligible for P-EBT food benefits if their school has been operating with reduced in-person attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-21 school year," OTDA states on its website. "This includes children who attend Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools and any private, prekindergarten, parochial and charter schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program."

Families cannot apply for the program; they will automatically receive the funds in one of several ways. If you got a P-EBT debit card, in either 2020 or 2021, the money will be loaded onto the card. If a child is enrolled in Medicaid, the funds will be added to their Medicaid card. All other families will get a new card in the mail.

Families can use the funds to purchase fruits and vegetables; meat, poultry, and fish; dairy products; breads and cereals; snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and seeds and plants that produce food, according to the USDA

Free Summer Meals

New York City is also continuing its free breakfast and lunch program for anyone 18 and younger this summer. 

"Designated public schools, community pool centers, parks, and food trucks will be open for service," the city's Education Department states on its website. "No registration, documentation, or ID is necessary to receive a free breakfast or lunch meal."

The service runs from Tuesday, June 28 through Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, except for on Monday, July 4, when meals will not be distributed. 

Starting in mid-June, you can find a meal distribution location in one of three ways: