The effect of Pandemic EBT on measures of food hardship

Little girl picking fresh tomatoes in the grocery store


In the spring of 2020, 55 million school-age children were not in school and tens of millions lost access to school-based nutrition assistance programs. To alleviate the effects of lost daily school meals and to help households with children meet their nutritional needs, Congress authorized a new program, Pandemic EBT, which provides families with a voucher to purchase groceries for an amount equal in value to the school meals missed from the start of school closures to the end of the 2019–20 school year. We find that Pandemic EBT reduced food hardship experienced by low-income families with children and lifted at least 2.7-3.9 million children out of hunger.