Families in needing of food assistance in St. Helens, Scappoose, and across the state, are expected to see additional benefits in the next few weeks, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE).
DHS and ODE announced on May 5, that more than 351,000 students receiving free meals from Oregon schools will get additional food benefits for groceries during the school closure.
Households will receive food benefits equivalent to the cost of one lunch and one breakfast for each eligible student – $5.70 per normal school day for the months of March, April, May and June.
Beginning in June, these additional benefits will be automatically deposited for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households to their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts on their regular issuance date. Benefits are sent out from the first to the ninth of the month, based on the last digit of the clients Social Security number.
Students who get free school meals but do not receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive an Oregon Trail Card in the mail in the months of June and July. Parents do not need to apply if their children are part of a school where all students receive free meals.
Families whose children attend participating schools and have experienced significant income loss may have become eligible for free school meals, and there is still time to apply.
Apply online at https://www.ode.state.or.us/apps/FRLApp/Default or contact your local school. To find out if your school participates in this program, visit https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/childnutrition/Pages/COVID-19.aspx.
Benefits will be retroactive to March 16, 2020 for students who received free and reduced-price meals when schools closed. For newly eligible free or reduced-price students or SNAP households, benefits will start at the beginning of the month they become eligible. Eligible students will receive the following:
- $69 for March
- $126 in April
- $120 in May
- $69 in June
More information about the program is available at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits or https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/childnutrition/Documents/FAQ - Parent - Website.pdf.
DHS officials said in a release that will continue to work with the agency's federal partners to provide greater assistance to Oregonians in need.
For more information about food assistance, visit needfood.oregon.gov or call 2-1-1.