Food benefits for K-12 Illinois students

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Trays of food at a school cafeteria. (KOIN)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Families across Illinois will soon get an essential card in the mail. It will be loaded with money to fight against hunger.

“The P-EBT cards are going to be a great help for families that are struggling for food insecurity, here in Champaign County,” says Feeding Our Kids Executive Director Matthew Hausman.

The cards will help parents like Demi Quick.

“We’ve had to quarantine twice. And this quarantine specifically recently, I didn’t get paid for. And then the one before that, I only got partially paid for you know, we worked reduced hours for a while,” Quick says.

She says eating clean has been hard during the pandemic and has been waiting for her son’s card to arrive.

“It’s important for me that you’re able to go out and buy fruits and healthy options, besides just the take-home meals.”

Students who qualify for free meals qualify for these cards. Money is added for every day a student does remote learning and can’t get a school lunch.

The cards will have over $400 pre-loaded from the time schools were shut down.

“Food insecurity has been shown to have all kinds of detrimental impacts on academic performance on mental health and it contributes to the cycle of poverty,” says Hausman.

“This is kind of like a light at the end of the tunnel when it gets here,” says Quick.

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