Pandemic funds debit cards: Eligible Pottawatomie County students to receive grocery assistance for families

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

Various schools across Pottawatomie County are receiving assistance from the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT), which is a program offering funds to students who would've received free or reduced lunches if they attended school in person last year.

P-EBT is offering preloaded debit cards to students who qualify for free and reduced lunches. The debit cards can be used for groceries.

Families don't have to apply for this program as they will get the benefits if they are eligible.

Those who qualify include students Pre-K through eighth grade and ninth grade to 12th grade who were enrolled in 2020-2021 but didn't physically attend school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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They will get $6.82 per day applied to their debit cards for the days they were enrolled in distance learning October 2020 through May 2021.

Nothing will be applied to the card for any days students attended school in person or were absent from distance learning.

According to Shawnee Superintendent Dr. April Grace, the district is thankful for this opportunity.

"We are grateful for any program that benefits students and families during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic," Grace said.

Each student in a household that's eligible for a debit card will receive one with their name on it rather than one card per family unit.

It's likely because of this rule that students in each family will have their own cards, but the cards will have different amounts of funding.

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The Oklahoma Department of Human Services will mail out cards now through Oct. 15.

If there are families that don't receive their cards by Oct. 15, then they'll need to visit www.sde.ok.gov/pebt and fill out a review form.

The form will be available to families starting Oct. 16 and those who need an address change will also need to visit the website.

Elisabeth Slay is a Reporter with The Shawnee News-Star. She can be reached at (405) 214-3926 or eslay@news-star.com