The deadline to apply for a Pandemic EBT card for students who receive free and reduced-price meals has been extended.

According to a report from our partners at News 10, Gov. Abbott announced Tuesday that he has extended the deadline to apply for the Pandemic EBT card, which pays $285 for each student who's received free and reduced-price meals, to Aug. 21.

The benefit, which is provided by federal aid, helped lower-income students still be able to receive meals when schools shut down in the spring because of COVID-19.  This makes the second time the deadline has been extended.

According to food policy advocates, about 800,000 eligible Texas families have still not applied for the federal program.  This will give them more time to apply.

Officials say thousands of families are applying everyday, but all the the "chaos and disruption" over the past few months, a lot of families don't know that they qualify.

You can apply online, and there is also a phone number you can call.  You can find out more information here.

Hopefully the word gets out to whoever may need the help so they can take advantage of this program. So many families are experiencing hard times during the ongoing pandemic. If a child in your family is in need of nutritional assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out.

We also want to make sure families know that the Central Texas Food Pantry is hosting two free drive-thru food distribution events in early August to ensure that families in need have nutritious meals.

The first event is scheduled for Thursday, August 6 at Waco ISD stadium. From 10 AM to Noon. The second event is scheduled for Saturday, August 15 at Temple College from 9 AM to 11 AM. More details here.

If you'd like to help local students with essential school supplies, be sure to pick up a few back to school items and donate them as part of our Stuff the Bus campaign. You can drop off items at the Law office of Brett Pritchard in Killeen, Smile at the World Orthodontics in Temple, or any Central Texas Pizza Hut location. You can even participate virtually by visiting our Amazon Wishlist.

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