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Experts: Pandemic EBT Grocery Money for Families Will Boost KY Economy

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Thursday, September 2, 2021   

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- September is Hunger Action Month, and advocates say the latest round of federal Pandemic EBT and Summer EBT will give Kentucky's economy a boost of more than $267 million, while helping families put food on the table.

Pandemic EBT is the national program established last year at the beginning of the COVID crisis. It provides cash for groceries to low-income families of young children whose daycare and preschool may have been disrupted by COVID-19.

Summer EBT is a one-time grocery benefit, reimbursing families who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches for the extra cost of food they incurred during the summer.

Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the programs will directly affect more than 600,000 children.

"Whatever happens to one of us in the community affects us all," Friedlander contended. "And this is a great example of that. Because this Pandemic EBT goes to an individual, but then what happens is it supports the retailers in our local communities. And that is critical for everyone in a community."

For more information about requirements and qualifications, call the Department of Community Based Services hotline at 1-855-306-8959. Families who lost their EBT or P-EBT card can call 888-979-9949 to receive a new one.

Steve McClain, director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Kentucky Retail Federation, said increased grocery purchases can have a big impact, especially in rural communities.

"It's not just the grocery store workers," McClain explained. "These are dollars that go back to the folks that produce the food, to deliver the food, to the stores."

Last month, households nationwide reported the lowest levels of food insecurity since the start of the pandemic, according to Census data. But SNAP enrollment continues to spike, with six million more people relying on food benefits compared to 2019.


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