TJC Story Blog

Sept 2021

P-EBT Supports Families with Children as Pandemic Intensifies

During the pandemic, many families who do not qualify for SNAP were able to access important food assistance through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program called P-EBT. One Clarksville mother shared with us how important P-EBT was to her family after they lost their SNAP benefits while battling COVID-19. She had previously received SNAP benefits before her marriage. After her marriage, she and her husband’s joint income made them ineligible for benefits. After being laid off early in the pandemic, she eventually found a new job at a grocery store. Her income was lower than her previous job, but the family was still not eligible for SNAP due to her husband’s income. However, they struggled to make ends meet and put food on the table for their daughter who was spending more time at home due to school closures and virtual learning. While they didn’t qualify for SNAP, their daughter was eligible for reduced-price school meals and, therefore, eligible for P-EBT. P-EBT benefits provided the support the family needed to feed their family and took some strain off the family income. They last received Summer P-EBT, and they continue to wait for P-EBT to cover the days that their daughter missed during this 2021-22 school year. She frequently gets sent home to quarantine and her parents expressed that it has been difficult to keep her fed. Families with children across Tennessee continue to miss school days due to COVID-19. Tens of thousands of Tennessee families were impacted in August and September 2021 when Delta swept through the state infecting and exposing many children to COVID-19. School absences are on the rise again due to Omicron which means children are losing access to free school meals. Families continue to wait for P-EBT benefits and need support. We encourage the state to act quicky to ensure that all Tennessee kids get the meals that they need as the pandemic intensifies.