Press Release

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (April 9, 2020) ― Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the State of Michigan is the first state in the U.S. approved to expand food assistance through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program for the families of students who typically receive free- and reduce-priced lunch and breakfast at school.


The following statement may be attributed to Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest:

“Michigan students depend on school for a wide range of needs, in addition to a quality education. It is critical to ensure that essential services provided to students at school remain available while schools are closed.

“Today, Michigan is doing even more to provide food security for the more than 750,000 students who depend on school for free or subsidized breakfast and lunch. Through the new Pandemic EBT program, the value of this critical food assistance can be provided through existing and new electronic benefits cards to the families of these students.

“Pandemic EBT will layer additional access to much-needed food assistance for vulnerable students and families. Other expansions include school meal pickup sites and delivery, as well as expanded benefits and access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through Disaster SNAP.

“We applaud Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for expanding food security and access for Michigan students.”

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 The Education Trust-Midwest is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving outcomes for all Michigan students, especially for African American, Latino, American Indian, and low-income students. The Education Trust-Midwest believes in the power of intelligent education policy and practices — informed by data, research, and the successes of other states — to make Michigan a top ten education state for all students.