Families have until Tuesday to seek compensation for school meals lost during online school

Veronica Diaz squirts mayonnaise on her son Victor’s sandwich during a free summer lunch at Washington Elementary School on June 18, 2019 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Oregon families with kids eligible for free school lunch should have received a card in the mail from the state to cover the cost of meals lost due to school closures last year.

Any family that hasn’t received the money or has questions about the benefits must contact the Oregon Department of Human Services’ Pandemic EBT program at EBTschoo[email protected] by Nov. 30 to get the issues resolved.

State officials announced over the summer that about 450,000 Oregon children would receive $1,100 to help their families pay for food following a year of mostly online school. A second round of help in the fall gave families another $389 per eligible child.

The group included nearly all students in the Salem-Keizer School District, because 63 of the district’s 65 schools offer free meals to all students, regardless of income. Payments were put on families’ existing EBT cards, often called food stamps, or on cards mailed out for families that don’t receive food stamps.

The department said any family that didn’t receive a card or didn’t receive the correct amount must report the issue by Tuesday to get it resolved.

-Rachel Alexander