MOORHEAD — Minnesota families have until the end of July to sign up for pandemic food benefits.

State officials said 1 in 5 students in Clay County are eligible but have yet to apply for the Pandemic EBT food assistance program.

Officials highlight that's a good sign, after Moorhead reported 91%of eligible families hadn't signed up in early July.

Health and Nutrition Educator at the University of Minnesota Extension Noelle Hardin said stigma maybe why some families aren't signing up.

"I think that this is a time where people who have never needed help like this, and they never thought they would be in a position like this need help. We are all facing this crisis together," she said.

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The number of people applying for assistance could influence future funding.

"The kinds of enrollment numbers that we see right now, could have a real influence on the support families and schools receive as we are deciding about what the future looks like this fall," Hardin said.

She reminds families, eligible students can still qualify even if their school is giving out free meals.

The deadline to sign up for benefits is July 31.