Local Houston ISD students and their families, including those who have struggled to gain access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic, can apply for a benefits program aimed at helping them recover.

A June 2 news release from HISD said families can apply for a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), a one-time benefit for families who temporarily lost access to student meals during the 2020–21 school year due to the pandemic.

The program, which was established last year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Texas Health and Human Services Commission to help families buy food during the pandemic, could provide up to $1,200 per child for eligible families, according to the district. The dollar figure for benefits will be based on what school a student attended and the number of days most students received remote instruction.

Families eligible to apply are those with children up to 21 years old who qualified for free or reduced-price meals at a Texas school during the 2020-21 school year. Families with children whose schools offer meals at no charge through the Community Eligibility Provision can also apply.

“We have worked hard over the past year to make sure we provided continued access to healthy food for our students and families who needed it most,” HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a news release.

Applications for the program are available online at yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/PEBT and must be completed by Aug. 13.

For more information on the program, visit hhs.texas.gov/PEBT or call the P-EBT call center at 833-442-1255 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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