For local updates on COVID-19 related policy changes and guidance related to food assistance programs, refer to our COVID-19 Policy Updates page.
Check out the D.C.'s coronavirus page and see below for updates on the changes city agencies and organizations are making to their regular operations to mitigate the spread of the virus. Information is subject to change.
We will be updating information on food resources in the District of Columbia. For federal updates, please refer to the Food Research & Action Center’s coronavirus page.
Check out D.C.’s coronavirus webpage COVID-19 guidance documents, including health guidance and licensure and regulatory information.
If you are homebound due to COVID-19, please call 1-888-349-8323 or visit gethelp.dc.gov to submit a request to have food and other essential items delivered to your home.
Who is eligible?
School breakfast, school lunch, and pre-packed groceries are available to all students at D.C. school meal sites.
All children 18 and under can receive free breakfast and lunch at open meal sites across the city. Children do not have to be enrolled in DCPS or charter schools to receive meals. No ID or prior sign-up is required.
How to Access School Meals
Meals will be available every weekday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at select sites.
Parents or guardians can pick up meals on behalf of their children. Residents can pick up three days’ worth of meals per day per child. More information can be found here.
Meals will be provided to-go meals to encourage social distancing.
Spread the Word
Help us spread the word about school meals by sharing info and graphics from our Chill Out with School Meals Toolkit.
In this webinar, you will hear from DCHS, DC Department of Human Services, DC Department of Aging and Community Living, Capital Area Food Bank, and DC Food Policy Council, who highlight supporting programs and share additional guidance for how providers can assist older adults in connecting with available food resources.
Our webinar with local partners serving District families during COVID-19 covers available food resources and programs for District families with children during this public health crisis. It highlights recent changes to government food programs including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the new Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program for families with children who rely on school meals. Speakers from DC WIC, DC Department of Human Services, and DC Food Policy Council highlight recent expansions of these programs and gave tips for how providers can assist families in the program application process.
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a new program that provides eligible families with public benefits to purchase food for both school-aged children and children under the age of six years old. Benefits are retroactive to when schools initially closed.
To learn more about P-EBT and how you may qualify, visit our Pandemic EBT page.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides low-income households with a monthly Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that can be used, like a debit card, to buy food.
To learn how SNAP is administered in D.C. during the pandemic, check out our resources below.
For new applications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Alliance, or other public benefits, you can now apply online at https://dcbenefits.dhs.dc.gov/. For other information about benefits, please visit dhs.dc.gov or call DCHS at (202) 640-1088.
To help enforce social distancing, the following DHS Service Centers are open only for picking up and dropping off public benefits applications and documents: Taylor Street, H Street, and Congress Heights. Fort Davis and Anacostia Service Centers are closed. All applications and documents must be placed in an envelope provided at the Service Center. Applicants must write their full name and phone number on the front of the envelope before placing it in application drop boxes located in the center lobbies.
Beginning April 20, 2020, EBT cards will be mailed to participants who need them. Due to this new service, the Good Hope Road EBT Service Center (1649 Good Hope Rd, SE) will be closed, and the H Street EBT Service Center (611 H Street, NE) will be open with modified hours: Monday & Friday 7:30-4:45, Wednesday 7:30-noon. If you need to update your address with DHS, call 202-727-5355. If you need to replace your card, call 888-304-9167.
In most cases, an interview is not required during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. New applicants may be contacted by a DHS representative by phone if additional information is needed to complete application processing.
The recertification process is paused for most recipients at this time. Residents with questions about their benefits should contact the Call Center at (202) 727-5355 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Phone lines will be busy. Applications and verification documents can be emailed to DCHS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WIC provides food benefits, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and healthcare referrals to pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years of age.
Are you eligible?
How to Access WIC During COVID-19
DC WIC has received waivers that allow the program to get benefits out to participants as quickly and safely as possible during the pandemic.
DC WIC sites are providing all services, including certifications, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support over the phone. All WIC checks will be mailed to participants’ homes.
If you are currently on WIC, please call your local WIC agency to update your mailing address and visit dcwic.org for updates related to COVID-19 and download the expanded foods list. More information for new and current WIC participants can be found in our FAQ documents.
All senior centers and senior meal sites are currently closed, and home-delivered meals are being provided instead. To receive meals, call the Department of Aging and Community Living’s hotline at (202) 724-5626. The call center will conduct a quick assessment and connect you to the appropriate service.
The D.C. Food Policy Council has information and a map of food assistance resources in the District and throughout the DMV region. The Council also shares updates on local food policy related to COVID-19.
Capital Area Food Bank afterschool meals program, which normally provides children with a hot supper on-site, now provides meal pick-up options.
Parents are now able to pick up a bagged or boxed set of shelf-stable items that will help feed their children and encourage social distancing.
Bags of food that are usually sent home with children through the food bank’s Weekend Bags program will double in quantity to reduce trips to program locations. More information and additional resources can be found on the Capital Area Food Bank’s website.