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Las Cruces Public Schools families may be eligible for additional nutritional assistance benefits over the summer, thanks to federal relief funds that were recently released to New Mexico.
The state estimates that approximately 71% of New Mexico students are now eligible to receive benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). The program supplies qualifying families with an EBT card that has the value of free school breakfasts and lunches. Benefits are based on federal reimbursement rates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and could provide up to $114 per student each month. The program is intended to provide nutritional assistance after the current meal distribution ends on May 20 at the 19 LCPS grab-and-go sites.
Families currently on SNAP benefits will see additional funds on their current EBT account by the end of the month. Families with students who receive free and reduced lunch, attend a Community Eligibility School (CES), or a Provision 2 school where all students eat free, will receive a P-EBT benefit card in the mail. All elementary schools and all middle schools in Las Cruces are considered CES schools. The EBT cards are expected to be sent in early June.
Families who have had a change in their economic circumstances due to the COVID-19 crisis or any high school student from Las Cruces who thinks they may qualify can fill out a new application to receive these benefits.
“We want to encourage all high school students to turn in an application because they may qualify for the benefit,” stated Edwanda Williams, the Director of Nutritional Services. Williams said applications can be picked up beginning Tuesday, May 12 at Lynn Middle School, Mesa Middle School, or Picacho Middle School. Applications can be returned to the same school no later than May 20. You do not have to be a student of those schools to get an application; families are encouraged to visit any of the three schools that are closest to them.
Additional resources available to students and families:
· For updated information related to COVID-19, visit www.cv.nmhealth.org.
· To contact the New Mexico Department of Health for any health-related questions or concerns, call the Coronavirus Hotline, 1-855-600-3453.
· During the crisis, families without internet service might be eligible for free or reduced internet service for the next 60 days. For more information on how to apply, call (855) 954-6546, (888) 833-9522 or (888) 234-4272.
· The New Mexico Crisis Line is available for anyone experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis. For resources, visit www.nmcrisisline.com or call 1-855-662-7474. In an emergency, please call 911.
· Additional resources that families might find helpful can be found at www.lcps.net.