Pandemic EBT Cards: What to Know and How It Works

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More families are struggling to make it in the Bay Area with nearly everything going up in price. But now many California families with the greatest need are finding a nice surprise in their mail -- money for food in the form of a debit card.

The Pandemic EBT card is given out by the state department of social services. The extra funds for food is helping families who face sticker shock at the rising prices at stores.

In addition, food banks have seen a huge increase in need over the last year with more families struggling to make ends meet.

Mina Mendoza's two school-aged daughters received an EBT card in the mail last month. Each child is provided $120 for food.

Michelle Lew, CEO of the Health Trust, has been tracking the growing need.

"No child should go hungry and that's why we're so excited that there's more money coming in for food support to help all of us in our community, especially in light of the rising food costs," Lew said.

In school districts like Alum Rock, every family will likely get the card because all of its schools are part of the free lunch program, meaning a majority of its families are likely below the poverty line.

The concern now is that some families might throw away the card, not knowing what it is. The card arrives under the child's name, which has led to some families thinking it is a scam.

"It's important for families to keep an eye out in the mail for the Pandemic EBT cards," Lew said. "They're worth money, which translates into healthy foods for themselves and their families."

The state said it will replenish the card every month. Those who have used the card already said it could not have arrived at a better time.

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