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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Montana To Extend Federal Food Assistance Program For Low-Income Families

A person carries groceries in a plastic bag. Stock photo.

About 15,000 Montana children are expected to benefit from the extension of a government food assistance program that was boosted during the pandemic. The state health department says it will continue offering a temporary food assistance program for families paid for by the federal government.

Gene Hermanson is an administrator with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

“Children that may face food insecurities — it’s critical that they are able to eat nutritious meals and have access to them.”

Through the program, families who are eligible to get free or reduced lunches for their kids at school are given additional funds to buy groceries for their households. The goal is to provide food for kids who have lost access to free and reduced lunches because of COVID-19-related closures.

About $21 million was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first payments in 2020, benefitting over 64,000 Montana children who lost access to school lunches.

The state health department will start issuing extended payments this week, with allocations ranging from about $70 to $116 per household. Eligible families with questions can call 1-888-706-1535, or email hhshcsdpebt@mt.gov.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.
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