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Colorado families must sign up to get $120 per child for food through Summer EBT

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Eric Galatas

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(Colorado News Connection) Colorado families must sign up before the end of April to receive $120 per child to buy food through the new Summer EBT program approved by Congress. Families with incomes that qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches - up to around $49,000 a year for a family of three - must enroll through their school.

Anya Rose, public policy director with Hunger Free Colorado, said as school cafeterias close their doors for summer, EBT cards can help kids get the nutrition they need to return to school in the fall ready to learn.

PROMO Food - Grocery Shopping Cart Basket - iStock - Sergei Gnatiuk

© iStock - Sergei Gnatiuk

"A lot of families will be automatically enrolled, if they are enrolled in programs like TANF, SNAP, Medicaid. If you are unsure, then talk to your school about filling out the household income form to make sure you can qualify this year if you're income eligible," she said.

EBT grocery cards can be used to buy fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, eggs, breads, meat, fish and other food at all grocery stores that accept SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps.

Rose noted grocery cards will be sent by mail, so it's important to make sure schools have your correct address.

Some 337,000 Colorado children are eligible for the program that is expected to generate up to $72 million in economic activity across the state. Grocery cards are available to all income-qualifying households regardless of their immigration status.

"There are no immigration eligibility requirements. And accessing Summer EBT and school meals do not impact immigration status in any way," she explained.

Filling out your school's household income application, sometimes called a school meal or benefit form, will also bring critical federal dollars into Colorado's Healthy School Meals for All initiative. It's currently running $24 million over budget. Rose adds there are other benefits for families who participate in Summer EBT.

"That same form can also qualify students to get discounts on school-related fees for things like SAT or ACT testing, or athletics or band or field trips or other activities," she said.