By Melinda Munson

The state extended its deadline for a new federal program, Pandemic-EBT for Children, which gives up to $458 in food assistance to each qualifying child.

Food Bank of Alaska (FBA) is assisting with the program, meant to ease the burden of lost school meals due to COVID-19 school closures. Students who were eligible for free or reduced meals in April, May or June, or who attended schools which offered free meals, are eligible.

Families already enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will automatically receive the new benefits on their Electronic Benefits Transfer card. Those who don’t currently utilize SNAP must opt-in by calling the FBA or filling out an electronic application at

Due to postal delays and technology glitches, the original Aug. 31 deadline was extended to Sept. 30. However, Alaska’s Division of Public Assistance (DPA) urges clients to turn in applications by Sept.15 to allow time for processing.  

“DPA will not be able to issue P-EBT benefits after Sept. 30, 2020, due to federal regulatory guidelines,” they stated.

Skagway City School opted out of the National School Lunch Program in 2013. 

“While low participation was a factor in the decision, it was really more about poor food quality and the enormous amount of paperwork associated with coordinating the program,” said Superintendent Josh Coughran. “At the time (and still now) we felt that we could provide a much higher quality nutritional experience for kids while still serving families who rely on free and reduced price meals.”

Currently, parents who need help with school meals must first apply to SNAP. Once approved, they should contact Coughran.

 Skagway School charges $5 for full-price lunch.

Interested parties can find SNAP applications at the following link.