NEW YORK — At least 12 million Americans and one in four children across New York City are food insecure during the pandemic.
To help those in need, the federal government launched pandemic EBT cards and boosted SNAP benefits by 15%. Many New Yorkers are unaware of the benefit, however.
Pandemic EBT is a federal program reimbursing families for the cost of meals students would have gotten at schools when they were shut down due to COVID-19, regardless of income or zip code.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer spent Friday morning spreading the word at the 97th Street Green Market on the Upper West Side.
“We want every parent of every public schools child to know about this,” she said.
Every public school family is sent between $820 and $1,320 on a pandemic EBT card depending on how long they were in remote learning. The cards can be used anywhere SNAP is accepted, including farmers markets and farm share programs.
The spending will circulate a whopping $1.5 billion through the city economy. Grow NYC runs 50 farmers markets across the city and their stats show the impact. In July 19, SNAP sales were $112,000, but by July 2020, they’d hit $150,000 and in July 2021, they were up to $331,000.
Grow NYC’s Andrei Koslov said they hit a record this past Tuesday at a market in the Bronx.
“It was about 430 transactions, which comes out to one SNAP transaction every 58 seconds,” Koslov said.
There is no application process necessary. Benefits for this past school year are issued through the fall. The funds are available for up to a year from the date issued. Contact NYS OTDA at 1-888-328-6399 to access your benefits.