MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Human Resources has extended the time for parents to apply for food assistance for their children.
The deadline to apply for a pandemic-electronic benefit transfer (P-EBT) is now August 14th.
This program gives parents an extra $5.70 each day, per qualifying child, for them to get food. The P-EBT is meant to replace the school meals that were lost in March, April, and May when schools shut down because of COVID-19.
The Mid-South Food Bank pushed the state to extend the application deadline so more families can apply for the assistance.
"It’s retroactive back to when school was shut down in March, so it’s a significant help for families. And now that we know that the kids are going to be home a bit longer, I can’t stress enough how it can really benefit your family," Cathy Pope, Mid-South Food Bank President & CEO, said.
Parents that already have an EBT card that are eligible for the program would have already had the benefits applied to the cards.
Otherwise, parents will have to apply through the state's human resources office here and a card will be sent through the mail. It can be used anywhere an EBT card is accepted.
For a child to qualify, they must have received free or reduced meals at school or attend a community eligibility provision school that provides free meals to all of its students.
The food bank is still feeding three times as many people now than it did last year. Pope said she knows there are more families out there that qualify but they may not know it. She said signing up also helps them with distribution.
"If you can go to the store and buy your food, then you’re not the one in the food line, right?" Pope said. "We’re hoping that since we are seeing such long lines, we kind of have to work together, it can’t be just one stop, one resource.”
The food bank will also help people work through the application process for SNAP benefits. Learn more here.
“Some of them generally don’t need it," Pope said. "This is going to be the first time that they’ve ever needed it so this is going to be the first time they’ve navigated it before, so again, we’re here to help as a resource.”
The Dept. of Human Services said due to a high-volume of cards being sent out, people should expect some delays in receiving them.
People with questions or concerns should call the Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287.