Meal distribution

Rachel Shepard, Shelly Klutz and Megan Kinder pack meals at Watauga High School for distribution ahead of Spring Break.

WATAUGA — Watauga County Schools students who meet state and federal requirements may now apply for free and reduced lunch online, and eligible families can apply to receive additional North Carolina Pandemic Electronic Benefits.

Pandemic Electronic Benefits (P-EBT) provides a benefit on an EBT card to North Carolina families whose children have access to free and reduced lunch at school, according to Watauga County Schools.

All families with one or more children, under the of age 18, in their household who normally have access to free and reduced lunch at school are eligible for P-EBT benefits through the duration of the pandemic. Due to school closures caused by COVID-19 pandemic, these households are now eligible to receive a benefit on an EBT card to help them buy food for their children.

Families whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply online for free and reduced lunch at www.wataugaschools.org/Page/3209.

“Even if you have been ineligible in the past, your status may have changed in light of the current crisis,” WCS stated.

While families’ free and reduced lunch status is used to receive Pandemic Electronic Benefits, the P-EBT program is operated by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The benefits will be distributed by those state organizations.

If a family doesn’t have access to the internet, a request of a paper copy of this year’s Free and Reduced Meal Application can be made by calling the WCS School Nutrition office at (828) 263-1718.

For more information and to apply, visit www.wataugaschools.org/page/3209.

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