Students K-12 in the Montague-Whitehall area now qualify for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards.

All students in the area qualified for free lunch and breakfast, and subsequently qualified for and were sent P-EBT cards. Parents can use these cards as well.

P-EBT cardholders can use the cards at grocery stores or farmers’ markets involved in the program. When used at a farmers’ market, people need to go to either Montague City Hall or the Montague farmers’ market to receive tokens.

Regular tokens can be used on products such as honey, baked goods, seeds for plants, meats, dairy products, eggs, coffee beans and grounds, fruits and vegetables. The Montague farmer’s market also has a program called double up food bucks. This only applies to products grown in Michigan.

“So this is supporting local farmers keeping the money in our area; you can double your balance by swiping your card at a farmers market,” said Kelly Markley, Montague City market manager, deputy clerk and permit coordinator.

Montague City Hall is open Monday through Friday- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, Markley will be at the Montague Farmers’ Market on the last Saturday of every month with a card reader.

The cards will last until the balance placed on the card has run out. However, the schools can reapply for the cards. Students might get the cards again if the district qualifies for free lunch.

Additionally, students in the area received different amounts on their P-EBT cards. The cards are meant to be retroactive for the meals students missed because of hybrid schedules or days when the school was closed due to the COVID-19.

“So we’re not all getting the same amounts, and it’s for your child specifically in meals that they missed at school,” said Markley.

The Montague Farmers’ Market opened early this season. Currently, there are vendors selling coffee, honey, syrup, beeswax candles, plants for home gardens, artisan baked goods, different kinds of meat vendors and eggs.

“Mostly, we just focus on local foods,” said Markley .

Markley said she hopes people will use the cards at the farmers’ market. Additionally, she hopes the farmers’ market becomes a fun place for locals to hang out.

“I am hopeful that it will improve our market, and it’ll be a benefit to our farmers and vendors in Montague and the white Lake area.”

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