Chicago Public Schools students will receive around $450 on pre-loaded debit cards. The funds are to help with food emergencies brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. Under the new Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, all CPS students are eligible to receive the funds regardless of income or citizenship status.
Illinois State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala released a statement saying, “Schools have served more than 113 million meals to students since the pandemic began. The P-EBT builds on this care and commitment to ensure all Illinois children have their nutritional needs met.” She went on to say, “Research shows that children who are hungry are not able to focus and learn.”
Each CPS student will receive $6.87 for each school day through December they were in remote learning. Families will receive another P-EBT card in April with their January-March benefits. Starting in May families will receive a monthly disbursement for the rest of the school year.
Families who opted for in-person learning will only receive benefits for the days they learn from home. Students will have access to meal service on the days they are in school.
Governor J. B. Pritzker praised the new program saying it puts the state “another step closer to ending hunger for all of Illinois”.
CPS data shows that around 76% of students enrolled are at an economic disadvantage. With over 60,000 students returning to the classroom, families will be happy to know that more help is on the way. For more information families can call the Healthy CPS hotline at (773) 553-KIDS.
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social @beboldshineon.