State Food Assistance for Free and Reduced-Lunch Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • PEBT Logo  The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is for students who would have received free or reduced-price school lunches in school as part of the National School Lunch Act, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, they are not receiving these meals during the school day.

    The parents of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals will receive the P-EBT benefit in March via the U.S. Postal service in the form of a white plastic card carrying the name of the eligible student. There is no need to apply and a student or family’s immigration or citizenship status does not affect eligibility.

    Please note parents may need to update their home address with their child’s school. It is very important that our schools have the correct mailing address on file in order to receive the P-EBT card in an unmarked envelope through your local mail delivery. If a mailing address update is needed, parents should please contact their school’s secretary or home-school liaison. If a family is new to the District, or never applied for free or reduced-price school meals for this school year, and believes they are eligible, they should complete a meal application on the District website here under Families/School Meals.

    The P-EBT program is designed to help Illinois families buy food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each eligible student will receive a “benefit card” from the Illinois Department of Human Services, and it can be used to purchase food at any store that accepts SNAP benefits. For each eligible P-EBT day, a student will receive $6.82 on the benefit card. Students who are learning remotely some days and attending school in-person some days (such as with the U-46’s Hybrid program) will receive a benefit amount based on the number of days that they are without access to a meal served in school. Meals served curbside or packed for home consumption do not affect the P-EBT benefit. Eligible students will receive benefits for all eligible school days, back to the beginning of this school year. Money will be loaded onto the benefit card in installments. 

    More details and FAQs regarding the P-EBT plan can be found on the Illinois Department of Human Services’ website here and in this notice

    For questions regarding a student’s free or reduced-price meal status, please contact Shelly Castillo, Meal Claims Specialist or Elena Hildreth, Director of Food & Nutrition Services

More Resources

  • School District U-46 is hosting a virtual Q&A session for families with questions about the P-EBT program. It's being offered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18. Please join at

    Illinois PEBT Card

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