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Extra Food Benefits Coming for Many Virginia Families

Danny Moloshok/AP

More than half a million children in Virginia are now eligible for extra dollars to help pay for food. It’s part of a pandemic benefit program from the federal government. 

Public school students who get free and reduced lunch, whether because they qualify personally or because they attend a school where everyone qualifies, will be eligible for the extra benefit. 

That’s up to $370 dollars per child to help offset food insecurity. Emily Griffey, with Voices for Virginia’s Children, says this can help fill some of the need for the 15-percent of kids in Virginia who already live in poverty.

“We know that the economic pressures could push even more children and families into poverty, so our overall investments in these safety net opportunities are what keep families safe and secure,” Griffey says adding that the additional money will also help local economies. 

Families who already get food assistance will get an automatic deposit on their benefit card within the next two weeks.

For those that don’t, the Department of Social Services recommends they contact their local school division now to make sure they have an up to date address on file. The benefit card will be coming in the mail within the next four to six weeks. 

You can find more information about eligibility and accessing the benefits here

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.