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Emergency SNAP Benefits to be Available to Most Families of St. Mary Parish School Students

Following Thursday’s meeting of the St. Mary Parish School Board, School Superintendent Dr. Teresa Bagwell told KQKI News that Emergency SNAP Benefits will be available to the families of most St. Mary Parish School students. The benefits are available to all students who attend CEP schools in St. Mary Parish. All schools in the parish are CEP schools, with the exception of Berwick Junior High and Berwick High Schools.
 
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools that predominantly serve low-income children to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs without the need to collect free and reduced lunch form paperwork.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 enables temporary emergency standards of eligibility and levels of benefits under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. Children who would receive free or reduced price meals under National School Lunch Act if school facilities were currently open are eligible for benefits. This includes all students attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school.
To receive these benefits, families must complete an application. Without the requested information, the Department of Children and Family Service cannot issue the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card and provide benefits.
The anticipated launch of the application is set for the week of May 18. The Department will publicize the eligibility of these benefits, and in an effort to ensure families receive these benefits during this challenging time, it will also provide school systems with information to distribute to eligible families.
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