State Rep. Mike Sparks announces financial meal assistance for Tennessee students

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State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, announced financial assistance is available to help families provide food for their children through the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer or P-EBT aims to provide financial assistance for school meals missed during the months of March, April, and May due to COVID-19 school closures. The P-EBT money can be used at grocery stores and other retailers that accept EBT cards to buy food for children.

The P-EBT was created through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act as a way to reimburse families whose children are on a free or reduced lunch program, but could not receive those meals when school closed in the spring. 

House Republicans have pushed to ensure Tennesseans’ needs are met during times of crisis.

“So many families are struggling to make ends meet because of this pandemic,” Sparks said. “I am extremely grateful this program is available to help our most at-risk students and their families put food on the table and ensure they’ll have the resources they need to stay healthy and ready to learn.”

Families must meet the following criteria to qualify: receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program or attends a Community Eligibility Provision school that provides free meals to all students. Families already receiving SNAP or TANF benefits do not need to apply as the funds have already been distributed. Families can apply at tn.gov/humanservices or call 1-866-311-4287 by Aug. 14, at 4:30 p.m. Central Time.