RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – More than 900,000 families will get help to feed their children this summer.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has begun issuing Pandemic-EBT benefits for the summer. Through July 30, about 948,000 families will each receive a one-time payment of $391 to purchase healthy meals during summer break.

Since the start of the pandemic the state has issued more than $2.16 billion in P-EBT benefits to North Carolina families. Those funds have helped 1.48 million children in the state.

“Kids need enough healthy food every day to grow, develop and stay healthy, and that doesn’t change just because school is out for the summer,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley in a statement. “Supporting children is a top priority and we are going to keep using every tool we have to support them and their families.” 

Children who received free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program in May 2022 are automatically eligible for Summer P-EBT.

Eligible children can still receive Summer P-EBT benefits if they apply for free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program or apply for the Food and Nutrition Services program, by Aug. 31. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, parents should contact their student’s school or school district. If approved, these families would receive Summer P-EBT benefits in late September or October.