Summer food program ends Friday

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO — The summer meals provided by the Marshalltown Community School District end Friday. The break between the meals and the Aug. 25 beginning of the school year will provide staff the opportunity to prepare for return of students to school.

The Marshalltown Community School District summer meal program ends July 31. This leaves students with almost a month with no meals being offered.

Lynn Large, director of food service for Marshalltown schools, said the break between the end of summer meals and the beginning of school will allow for staff to prepare for the start of the 2020-21 year. With many unknowns, there is a lot to figure out.

She also said it will be a welcome break for food service staff.

“The food service staff have been working super hard,” Large said.

Despite the challenges, she said the summer meal program was a great experience for school staff and students alike.

contributed photo — Many Marshalltown families will receive P-EBT cards in the mail. These can be used to buy food items at most retailers.

“We’ve really enjoyed feeding the community this summer. We’ve had a great turn-out,” Large said.

With summer meals no longer being offered, P-EBT cards are a great resource for families.

Through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the state will offer the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program which will provide relief to struggling families.

Every eligible student will receive a card with a one-time issuance of $307.80 for the purchase of food.

According to Large, students who attend CEP — Community Eligibility Provision — schools which include elementary schools, Lenihan and Marshalltown Learning Academy, will receive the cards. Students from Miller and MHS who were enrolled in the free and reduced-price school meals program as of March 16, 2020 will also receive the cards.

For those who receive Food Assistance or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, the money will be put on the EBT card. Families who do not receive Food Assistance will receive P-EBT cards in the mail by Aug. 5.

The card must be used within the year. After that, any unused benefits will be removed.

The cards can be used anywhere Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are accepted, which includes all major grocery chains, Walmart and Amazon. They can purchase regular food items along with baby formula, garden seeds, plants for growing food at home and ice. They cannot be used to buy prepared food, pet food or non-food items.

Large said the P-EBT cards are meant to cover the money spent on food which would not have been necessary if students were in school and eating school lunches.

“The purpose of the card is just to kind of replace… the quantity of money they would have spent on food,” she said.

The card comes with instructions on how to activate.

“I think families will really appreciate having it,” Large said.

She said families who would like to apply for free or reduced- price lunches can do so through Infinite Campus at https://marshalltownia.infinitecampus.org/campus/portal/marshalltown.jsp.


Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.


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