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The families of more than 39,500 New Mexico students in grades K-12 will share in $2.3 million in federal money for food credits as reimbursement for missing free and reduced-price school meals because of COVID-related absences, the state Human Services Department said Friday in a news release.
“Good nutrition is essential fuel to focus and learn in school as well as grow in life,” said Angela Medrano, deputy cabinet secretary for HSD.
The reimbursement will be credited to the family’s P-EBT (Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer) card.
“The goal of this assistance is to not just reimburse families, but to also help provide continued care for New Mexico’s children,” Medrano said.
Families who receive the reimbursement must have school-age children who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and missed school for five consecutive days due to COVID during December 2021 and January 2022 – after schools returned to in-person learning. The reimbursement comes out to $7.10 for each of those days, and includes students whose school or district was shut down due to COVID, or students who missed school because they tested positive for COVID or were quarantined because they came in close contact with another student who tested positive.
Parents and guardians will be able to check on their child’s eligibility starting May 24 by going online to the VERIFY P-EBT Information section of the Human Services Department’s YesNM portal.
Current P-EBT cards should not be destroyed, and if a new address or guardian was reported to the school, a new P-EBT card will be sent to the new address, according to the HSD news release.
For questions regarding a child’s P-EBT card, contact NM PEBT Hotline at 1-833-415-0569. For questions regarding absences reported for your child, contact the child’s school.
Answers to other frequently asked questions can also be found online at: www.hsd.state.nm.us/lookingforassistance/p-ebt/
HSD also reminds New Mexicans who receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) food benefits that they can double up food bucks and purchase more fruits and vegetables when they spend their SNAP EBT card dollars at any of the 80 participating farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets and grocery stores around the state. For locations or further information, go to www.doubleupnm.org.