Oregon to provide over 351,000 children with benefits to replace the meals they get at school

(Salem, Ore.) – The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) announced today that Oregon families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will get cash benefits for the meals they would have received at school even if they have been accessing meals from schools during the closure.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized DHS to provide Oregon P-EBT Pandemic School Meal Replacement Benefits to more than 351,000 students receiving free or reduced-price school meals in Oregon, including almost 147,000 students already receiving Nutrition Assistance. Households will receive benefits equivalent to one free
lunch and one free breakfast for each eligible child – $5.70 per normal school day for the months of March, April, May and June.

“Together, DHS and ODE are working to ensure no child in Oregon goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dan Haun, DHS Self-Sufficiency Programs Director. “This resource is the result of our strong collaboration and will provide additional support for child nutrition and expand families’ options for healthy food.”

“The approval of this program highlights the tremendous partnership between ODE and DHS and our shared desire to strengthen our communities,” said Dustin Melton, Director of ODE’s Child Nutrition Programs. “The P-EBT program will support student’s nutritional needs during a time of crisis and uncertainty.”

Eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households will have their March, April and May benefits automatically deposited to their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts in late May. Students who get free or reduced-price school meals Oregon Department of Human Services Safety | Health | Independence but do not receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive an Oregon Trail Card in the mail.

Families who have experienced significant income loss may have become eligible for free
or reduced-price 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.

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 meals or SNAP households, benefits will start at the beginning of the month they become eligible. Eligible families will receive the following for each child:

  • $69 for March
  • $126 in April
  • $120 in May
  • $69 in June

Additional options to strengthen food security among Oregonians, include the ability for households to:

  • use their EBT card to include online food purchases through Amazon and Walmart (delivery fees not included).
  • take advantage of the double up food bucks program, which matches every $1 ofEBT funds spent – up to $10 – on fresh fruit and vegetables at participating local farmers markets.

DHS will continue to work with federal partners to provide greater assistance to Oregonians in need. To apply for Nutrition Assistance, visit needfood.oregon.gov or call 2-1-1.


  1. This is dumb and backwards. The whole point of offering free food at at school was because parents weren’t providing the food at home, even with SNAP. The State some time ago decided to offer free food directly to students at school so as to bypass the problems at home that prevent food from reaching the child’s plate. Now instead of fixing the problem by simply opening schools, or at least their cafeterias, they’re offering more SNAP benefits which will not reach the child and permanently ceasing school lunches or even school attendance. The parents who were not feeding their kids even with SNAP will still continue to do the same, only now they’ll have even more money to spend on themselves instead of their kid. Cancer patients cannot legally purchase crucial protein supplements with SNAP but anyone can buy $20 pounds of luxury coffee beans– which have no nutritional value whatsoever.
    The worst part is here, in the local news coverage. The State announces they’re making a bad call with our taxpayer funds that will hurt our kids and what does Gorgenewscenter.com do? They run a massive, massive, long story talking about how great that decision is and not even considering there may be more than one side to the story. The people running this “website” clearly see us all as stupid and not worth even one second of actual journalism. For SHAME!

  2. Editors Note: We do not see our readers as “stupid”. We put the actual Press Release on the website and did not endorse the program either “for” or “against”. We put news on the website so the reader can make their own opinion on what the State is doing.

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