MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota families will receive over $170 million toward summer meals, as part of the U.S. agriculture department’s Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program.

The payments will be $430 per child, to help fill the summer gap in school meals some students face.

“The end of the school year shouldn’t leave children without access to healthy food,” Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said. “Summer P-EBT will make it easier for their families to provide nutritious meals, without added financial stress.”

More children may receive benefits this fall, even if they weren’t eligible during the previous school year.

“It’s critical to make sure that Minnesota children don’t fall behind in their learning and development over the summer,” Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said. “Ensuring access to nutritious food is an important part of that effort.”