MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) has received federal approval to distribute Summer Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to an estimated 485,000 children who participate in the National School Lunch Program.

The benefits will help feed children enrolled in the program, which provides free and reduced-price meals at school. Eligible families will receive $391 for each child in the program. The benefits are expected to start rolling out later this summer.

“Hunger doesn’t take a summer break,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “These Summer P-EBT benefits will provide financial flexibility and promote continued food security for students as they transition between school years. We are grateful to our federal and state partners for their ongoing support of our efforts to meet the nutritional needs of young Alabamians.”

Although all public school children could access free meals during the 2021-22 school year, Summer P-EBT benefits are limited to those who participate in the National School Lunch Program by application or through either the Community Eligibility Provision or a Provision 2 school. Families with questions about eligibility should contact the schools their children attend.

Summer P-EBT benefits can be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food items at stores that accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Households with eligible students who received P-EBT benefits previously will access Summer P-EBT benefits on their existing EBT cards. Those who are new to the National School Lunch Program will receive EBT cards in the mail. All recipients should keep their EBT cards in case additional benefits are added in the future.

To become eligible for Summer P-EBT, families may apply for the National School Lunch Program by contacting their local schools no later than Aug. 31.

Eligible families are encouraged to monitor for additional updates, including information about a timeframe for the arrival of benefits.

DHR oversees the distribution of Summer P-EBT with assistance from ALSDE. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service administers the program at the federal level.

Support specialists are available to answer questions about P-EBT by phone at 1-800-410-5827 and online at from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.