Maine is getting federal assistance to provide food for children who receive free and reduced meals at school.
More than 82,000 children will receive benefits through the Pandemic-EBT program to cover the meals they would have received at school. That's almost 44 percent of all Maine students.
Good Shepherd Food Bank Vice President Amy Regan Gallant says households that qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - or SNAP -will automatically see an increase in those benefits. But she says money will also go to families who earn too much for SNAP but have a child who receives free or reduced school meals.
"So, many of those families for the first time will receive an EBT card with almost $400 on it," Gallant says. "It's about $20 shy of $400 to supplement their family's grocery bill."
That's for each child receiving free or reduced lunch. Gallant says families earning less than 175 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for Pandemic-EBT support.
Maine 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says that for many Maine students, school meals are their only reliable source of food.