Oregon will boost payments to most children to $1,500 to help buy groceries

Oregon, which was well on its way to paying almost all low-income and some non-income children up to $ 1,100 to afford food, will pay these and a few other children an additional $ 389.

The federal government has approved an additional $ 167 million to allow Oregon to pay those $ 389 per child expenses to families to help with grocery bills, state officials said Wednesday. At least 430,000 children should receive the additional benefit, it said. The additional infusion of federal funds will increase the maximum payments per child to nearly $ 1,500.

The payments are intended to make up for missed school meals that children would have received for free in the previous school year if school were normal, as well as free summer meals that they may have missed in June, July and August. The payments go to all students who were entitled to free meals at their school or daycare center in the past year.

All Oregon families with children enrolled in public schools will receive an additional break in meal costs this school year if their school offers meals: every child can have free school breakfast and lunch.

That’s because every Oregon district, as across the country, can offer free school meals to any student who wants one and receive federal reimbursement under a special pandemic-related provision of the federal school nutrition program.

The payments to the children to make up for missed meals from the previous year come straight to their home.

For children whose families are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, funds have been and will be transferred to their Oregon Trail card in late July, August, September and October. Other children whose families make too much money to qualify for meal tickets but who were eligible for free school meals last year have been or will be mailed special debit cards with the child’s name on them.

The money loaded onto these cards can be spent on any food and drink that people are allowed to buy with food stamps.

Children who were enrolled in certain schools receive the money regardless of their family’s income. That’s because hundreds of Oregon schools offer free meals to all of their students under a state school lunch regime known as Community Eligibility. If a school has at least 40% of its students in certain government programs, including meal stamps or foster families, a free meal is served to each student without the families having to fill out papers for the school meal.

Last year they were Benson, McDaniel, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Hillsboro, Parkrose, Reynolds, and David Douglas High Schools, and Beaumont, Lane, Ockley Green, George, Tubman, Rowe, Parkrose, and South Meadows Middle Schools. Dozen of elementary schools in the Beaverton, Centennial, David Douglas, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, Parkrose, Portland, and Reynold school districts also offered food allowance to each student.

The first round of payments started in July and reached $ 408 per student.

The state announced on Wednesday that families will receive an additional $ 129 per child in September and $ 260 per child in October.

Officials said families of school-age children whose incomes are low enough to qualify for free school meals who have not applied for and approved the program for the coming year are still receiving the $ 389 retrospective food payments for the Summers can get when they apply online at the Oregon Department of Education website by Saturday.

– Betsy Hammond; betsyhammond@oregonian.com; @Ankreiden

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