A customer shops for groceries at the Homeland grocery store located at 2400 S. Cornwell in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 19, 2020.CHRIS LANDSBERGER/The Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the State Department of Education have established a new program to provide extra food benefits to families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals at school in the spring.

DHS officials said the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program was created to distribute food benefits to families that did not receive them during the 44-day period when public schools closed at the end of the 2019-2020 school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say the program will give $35.9 million to 80,158 Oklahoma homes enrolled in the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The program will also give $75.1 million to 231,863 non-SNAP households, DHS officials said in a news release Wednesday.

“These benefits are equivalent to the daily reimbursement for free breakfast and lunch in the state, or $5.70 as specified by the USDA, multiplied by the average number of days school was cancelled in the month for each eligible child in the household,” officials said in the news release.

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