NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York state is distributing around a half-billion dollars in food stamps to every public school student to help New Yorkers through the COVID-19 crisis.
Each student will receive about $420 each as part of the CARES Act that was passed by Congress in March.
Every public school student will be eligible for a free or reduced price lunch with the food stamp card, that will come in the mail in the near future. The cards are designed to replace in-school lunches.
“In NYC because we have universal free school lunch, all 1.1 million New York City public school students are eligible,” says Liz Accles, executive director of the non-profit, Community Food Advocates.
She says most families will be getting those cards in the coming weeks and it's sorely needed.
Accles says 1 in 4 New Yorkers is food insecure, and the crisis has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
She says any family who receives a card and does not need the extra help should not donate the card directly, as that is considered fraud.
Instead, Accles suggests using the money and then donating the equivalent funds to a charity organization that assists families experiencing food insecurity.
“Many faith-organizations in communities run food pantries and are doing important work during the pandemic,” she explains.
Kathryn Garcia, the city’s sanitation commissioner and COVID food czar, is also urging all New York City parents, regardless of their income, to spend the money because it will act as an economic boost for local stores.