The U.S. Department of Agriculture today approved Florida’s request to implement the Pandemic EBT program across the state. Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, will provide nutrition benefits to the families of more than 2 million children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches, and is administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
“Thank you to Secretary Perdue and the USDA for providing Florida the flexibility to help feed our state’s children and families throughout COVID-19,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Fighting the chronic hunger and food insecurity worsened by this pandemic is one of our top priorities, and the Pandemic EBT program will help us ensure that the families that most need help can access fresh, healthy nutrition at this challenging time.”
Eligible families will automatically receive this supplemental benefit in the month of June, with funding made possible by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additional information will be available from DCF.
FDACS is the state agency that funds Florida’s school lunch program, through $1.3 billion in federal funding. In the 2018-19 school year, Florida’s schools served 286,734,316 school lunches, of which 245,782,422 were free or reduced lunches. These schools served 2,908,335 Florida students, of which 2,089,852 were students receiving free or reduced lunches.
Commissioner Fried’s department also administers several other nutrition programs. In March alone, FDACS facilitated more than 3.5 million meals served at 1,600 Summer BreakSpot locations, and helped distribute more than 13 million pounds of food through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.