Families whose children attend public school should have received their EBT cards in the mail by now. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) is a Federal program to provide food benefits to children who miss the opportunity to receive school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. These benefits will take the form of funds on electronic benefit transfer (EBT cards) which can be used in the same manner as SNAP (food stamp) cards.

What you need to know:

  • The card will be mailed in the name of your child, not your name
  • The program offer $420 in benefits per child in your household, you get a seperate card for each child
  • All children who would have received free or reduced-price school lunches for the days their school was closed due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive P-EBT food benefits.
  • You have to activate the card and create a PIN, all details about activation are in the letter that comes with the card
  • Once activated you use it like a regular debit card
  • You can find all authorized retailers here. Trader Joes, Wegmans, local farmers markets, Wholefoods and most local supermarkets are participating
  • Your food benefit card will remain accessible for one year from the date it was issued, so use it in the next 12 months
  • The benefits are not transferable

How to use P-EBT at Greenmarkets:

1. Find your neighborhood Greenmarket. (All markets accept SNAP).

2. Visit the market information tent and look for the Market Manager. They will be wearing a GrowNYC t-shirt.

3. Swipe your EBT card to purchase as many $1 or $5 wooden tokens as you’d like. These tokens will act as cash at the market.

4. Receive $2 in Health Bucks (good for fruits and vegetables only) for every $5 you spend with SNAP.

5. Spend your tokens at any farm stand selling SNAP-eligible foods.

*NEW: Many farmers accept SNAP/EBT directly. Visit the market info tent to find out which farmers can swipe your EBT card and provide you with Health Bucks.

(Photo: Fish vendor at the Borough Hall farmers market on Saturdays)

If you don’t need the funds, consider making a donation to:

  • Community Food Advocates is a coalition of parents, principals, pediatricians, cafeteria workers, and activists who have led the charge to distribute school meals during the pandemic. In the past few months, they have collaborated with the DOE to improve and expand meal distribution to students and adults, and with their help, the city now distributes more than 600,000 meals every day. Make a tax-deductible donation here.
  • City Harvest is New York City’s private response to hunger, helping to feed the millions of New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables right now. We are committed to feeding everyone who was relying on us before the COVID-19 pandemic, and to meeting the increasing need for all of our neighbors who need our help accessing food. Make a donation here.