Hunger Action Los Angeles

 

Food Justice News August 6, 2020:

Reports and updates today on food justice and food security issues from our friends at California Food Policy Advocates, California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, CalCAN, Public Health Foundation WIC, LA County and others

  1. Pandemic EBT : Who Qualifies and How to Appeal
  2. National Farmers Market Week
  3. WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Up and Running!
  4. Support Healthy Soils and Farmworker Housing for Strong California Agriculture
  5. Volunteers Needed for Hunger Action LA!
  6. Link to LA County Food Programs

 

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  1. Pandemic EBT : Who Qualifies and How to Appeal

Pandemic EBT or PEBT is the name of the food card program that distributed benefits to families with children in school meals programs, who were homebound due to the pandemic. California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) reports that “ As of late July, $1.3 billion in P-EBT food benefits have been distributed to more than 3.5 million children across California. “

CFPA has prepared Question/Answer sheets in English and Spanish that cover P-EBT eligibility decisions, the appeals process, how to get help with P-EBT, and actions you can take to make sure P-EBT continues to help children throughout California. Click on links below:

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2. National Farmers Market Week

(Thanks to CA Alliance of Farmers Markets)

Farmers Market Week began August 2 and ends Saturday. So let’s finish up with a strong weekend supporting local farmers! Many people have been wondering what’s happened to the farmers markets since the pandemic began. Here are some updates:

  • Most markets are open, but have added hand-washing stations, eliminated on-site dining and food sampling, and have spaced the canopies further apart to allow for social distancing.
  • Many markets that were co-located health care facilities (such as Kaiser Permanente) have closed indefinitely, but you should check because some have re-opened on other health facilities
  • As more people lose income and qualify for CalFresh, we’ve seen as much as a 25% increase in CalFresh sales at some of the markets affiliated with Hunger Action LA’s Market Match program. In addition, P-EBT or Pandemic EBT can be used at the farmers markets too, and also qualifies the user for up to $10 bonus coupons to spend via Market Match.

Please share this video by the CA Alliance of Farmers Markets and the Spanish video for National Farmers Market Week on your social media platforms!

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3. WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Up and Running!

WIC (Women Infants and Children) program provides food benefits, health and other classes all year long to families with children age 5 and under (as well as pregnant women.) Every summer, WIC provides farmers market coupons so families can learn about markets and make healthier choices.

WIC Families get $28 free this year to spend at farmers markets. Public Health Foundation Enterprises, one of the major WIC contractors in Southern California, will be distributing over half a million dollars of fruit and vegetable vouchers to 22,000 WIC families (while supplies last.)

This year, many markets remain open with additional safety measures in place due to COVID-19. We encourage participants to wear a mask to the market and follow all posted social distancing instructions for a safer shopping experience.

PHFE WIC participants can text FARMERS to 91997 to request their FMNP vouchers, if they have not received them. Vouchers will be mailed to the WIC participant within 1 week of the request.

Hunger Action LA has organized a safe and convenient way for families to use their WIC FMNP vouchers. WIC participants can order a WIC Farm Box for pickup at one of several Los Angeles farmers' markets!

www.phfewic.org

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4. Support Healthy Soils and Farmworker Housing for Strong California Agriculture

(Based on info from CalCAN, the California Climate and Agriculture Network)

Please take a few minutes today to email your state Senator and Assemblymember, and Governor Newsom, and ask them to make economic recovery investments in food and agriculture!

Food security—and economic security---in California depend on a strong resilient agriculture sector. After all, we are the state that feeds the nation. Two important programs to help achieve this are Healthy Soils (which provides grants to farmers and ranchers to build better soils) and Housing for the Harvest (housing for farmworkers who have to isolate due to the pandemic.)

Let your elected representatives know that you support these two programs, which are under consideration for funding in legislative talks now.

Sample Message for email or phone call:

“I’m urging  (Governor Newsom or your Senator) to prioritize economic recovery funding for the Healthy Soils Program and the Housing for the Harvest program. The Healthy Soils Program turns farm-based climate solutions into rural jobs and farm viability. We must expand the Housing for Harvest program to include all agricultural counties, which provides critical housing for our farmworkers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic.”

You can reach Governor Newsom's page here for contact info by phone or email directly from the website. You can also find your senator at this link and follow the links at their site for contact info.

Background: Healthy Soils Program (CA Dept. of Food & Agriculture): In June, more than 300 growers received Healthy Soils grants but almost 600 farmers applied. Many farmers are using Healthy Soils grants to try new practices like compost, cover crops, and hedgerow plantings that not only build carbon sinks but also reduce chemical use and protect air and water quality, all while investing in local communities.

Farmworker Housing: Housing for the Harvest is a new program that offers temporary hotel housing to agricultural workers who need to isolate due to COVID-19. We support expanding Housing for the Harvest to include all agricultural counties.

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5. Volunteers Needed for Hunger Action LA!

Contact us at info@hungeractionla.org if you have some time to volunteer. We need:

*Delivery drivers to take food or meal bags to disabled, blind or senior households under pandemic lockdown. We collect food at 2:30 pm on Wednesday and deliveries go to South LA, Long Beach, San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, and Harbor Gateway cities. You can volunteer for 2 to 5 deliveries (or more.) Contact info@hungeractionla.org

*Volunteers to help set up and take down farmers markets, and prepare boxes for WIC customers (mentioned in the earlier item on the update.) Also contact info@hungeractionla.org

Join the over 75 who have volunteered with us so far since the pandemic and thank you very much!

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6. Link to LA County Food Programs

During the coronavirus pandemic we’ve seen a bewildering array of changes, most of them temporary but with no definite end date, in food programs, as well as helpful new services pop up from public and private sources, especially for vulnerable communities who really shouldn’t go out to get groceries at this time. LA County has set up a web page with all the vital links including:

  • Direct links to apply for CalFresh or for WIC
  • A link to search for free food resources in your area
  • Senior Critical Delivery service and the county’s Senior meal delivery program, as well as the city of LA’s recently expanded senior meal program
  • Resources for those who want to volunteer and for those who are collecting or redistributing food

https://covid19.lacounty.gov/get-support/

Information on public benefits, updates on Covid impacts, and food distribution events around the county can be found here:

http://dpss.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dpss/main/home/news

LA County is continuing its own version of the Great Plates program, helping homebound seniors between certain income levels to get 3 meals a day delivered to their homes:

 https://wdacs.lacounty.gov/greatplates/

 

 

 

 

 

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    Food & Justice News June 2nd, 2020

    Food Justice News June 2, 2020:

     

    Hunger Action LA condemns not only the police brutality that sparked the current uprising but all the cumulative actions of systemic racism that contributed to it, that built up the pile to which the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin has lit the flame. We do not support looting including looting of buildings by opportunists on the street or looting of the public treasury by politicians working on behalf of those who want to maintain the status quo. That status quo is inequality of races and an economic system whose goalposts forever recede in the distance so that people give up trying to “live” because they’re too busy trying to “survive.”

     

    To wit: the meager program of public assistance called SSI on which 1.2 million of our brothers and sisters in California depend. See below alert. Let’s keep the struggle going on the street and in the often opaque arena of public policy. As Jimi Hendrix wrote:

     

    I just want to know about your different lives, on this here people farm

    I heard some of you got your families, living in cages tall and cold
    And some just stay there and dust away, past the age of old
    Is this true? Please let me talk to you

     

     

    ACTION ALERT: TELL THE GOVERNOR NO CUTS TO SSI

    Below are directions for how to email through Gov. Newsom’s website and a template message. Let us know when you’ve emailed. Thank you!

    1. Go to https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/
    2. Screen 1: Enter your name, email, and choose “Budget Proposal 2020-21”


    3. Screen 2: Position is Con, write your message. A template is below, and feel free to edit.

      Template Email:

       

      Dear Governor Newsom,

       

      I am writing to oppose the SSI/SSP cut in your May Revise budget proposal and instead urging you to adopt the Senate’s budget proposal that would prevent cuts to the SSP COLA.

       

      The proposed cuts will exacerbate the profound impact that COVID-19 has on low-income older and immunocompromised Californians, women and people of color. People on SSI are one of the most impacted populations in the health care crisis because they’re high risk to get sick from Covid-19, worsening already present inequities. A CalBudget Center brief published in February 2020 reports that SSI is a critical support for older women and people of color because they have faced structural inequality in the labor market. We cannot let the value of this program and the economic disparity between women and people of color fall behind even more, at the time when they need help the most.

       

      SSI recipients have been advocating to restore the Great Recession cuts for over a decade and have only received one COLA, while other programs have been restored and new programs have been created and funded. It’s not much money by most people’s standards, but every dollar means a lot to people living on the edge. If this cut is implemented, how many years will it take after the COVID-19 crisis for it to be restored, let alone to bring the 1.2 million seniors and people with disabilities on SSI out of poverty? We appreciate that the Administration only proposes the cut as a trigger, but still a $5 per month cut would make a large difference for a person currently living at 89% of the federal poverty level.

       

      According to the IMPLAN economic analysis, SSP investments have a significant economic multiplier: Every $10 million in increased State Supplemental Payments would support $15 million in economic output (multiplier of 1.50), 93 jobs, and $0.9 million in state and local tax revenue. This is the kind of boost to the economy that we need.

       

      I hope to see that SSI/SSP will not be cut in the budget and that we can work toward seniors and people with disabilities living with dignity.

       

      Sincerely,

       

      [Your Name]

       

      Many thanks to Shanti Prasad and the CA4SSI coalition for this template and alert!

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    Call Your Assemblymember and Senator Now: NO CUTS TO SSI

    Food Justice News May 29, 2020:

     

    Call Your Assemblymember and Senator Now: NO CUTS TO SSI

     

    The coronavirus pandemic has created a huge state budget deficit in California. In Governor Newsom’s May budget revise, he proposed cutting the State Supplemental Payment to SSI, which supports 1.3 million blind, senior and disabled Californians, as part of a set of “trigger cuts” that would be enacted if the state doesn’t get more pandemic related support from the federal government.

    The state Senate earlier this week released their own list of trigger cuts, which did not include SSP. They recognized that cutting this benefit would only make the problem of homelessness worse and increase misery & hardship for the population that includes the most vulnerable to Covid infection.

     

    CALL YOUR STATE ASSEMBLYMEMBER AND YOUR STATE SENATOR TODAY:

    Tell your Assemblymember, Do Not Cut SSI in the state budget.

    Tell Your Senator: THANK YOU for not cutting SSI in your proposed budget and please hold the line on that cut.

     

    Find out who your state assemblymember and senator are at this link:

     

    http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov   

    BACKGROUND:

    • 3 million senior, blind or disabled Californians rely on SSI .
    • The payment is $943 per month (a little higher for certain people), which is below 100% of the poverty level.
    • $783 of the payment is “SSI” (Supplemental Security Income) from the federal government: $160 is the “SSP” from the state of California (State Supplemental Payment). Most people just know the term “SSI” and to keep it simple, this is enough for our state legislators.
    • SSI recipients only became eligible to get CalFresh food assistance about one year ago.
    • With only $943 a month many live on the verge of eviction.
    • Because SSI recipients have to spend all their money to survive, SSI actually is a stimulus to the economy; one estimate shows that $10 million of SSI in California provides a $15 million boost to the economy.
    • SSI also allows many people to live independently; they would otherwise be in skilled nursing homes which are costly to the state and are also threatened with budget cuts.
    • Cutting SSI would create homelessness, hunger, inability to afford transportation or co pays on medication, and misery for the most vulnerable people in the state.
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    Food & Justice News April 13, 2020

    Food & Justice News Apr 13, 2020

    Many thanks to our colleagues at various levels of government and advocacy who provided these crucial updates we’re passing along to you:

    1. How SSI Recipients And Others Who Don’t File Taxes Can Get The Stimulus
    2. LA County Begins Free Grocery Delivery Service
    3. WIC Expands Temporarily To Additional Foods
    4. CalFresh Boosted for March and April Benefits
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    DPSS Coronavirus FAQ

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    KTown Pho

    Hunger Action LA extends its gratitude to KTown Pho, who are donating BanhMi sandwiches on Wednesdays which we are taking to vulnerable seniors, homeless, and people with disabilities!
    Here is their link:
    https://www.ktownpho.com/#eat-together

     

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    Stimulus Payments

    Dear Follower of Hunger Action LA:

     

    The stimulus payments of $1,200 will be made automatically to most people in the U.S., including anyone who files a tax return, and most Social Security recipients.

     

    But some of the most vulnerable people in our community won’t be able to get it unless they jump through hoops. Those are the millions of senior, blind or disabled persons who only receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This includes around a million people in California, many of them frail with life-threatening conditions that make survival difficult, even before the current crisis.

     

    They can get the payments if they file a tax return. But the majority of them have either never had to file one because they have been blind or disabled from birth, or the last time they filed was years ago. And being in an especially vulnerable class, it is not easy for them to leave home and go hunting down a tax form.

     

    Other recipients of benefits from the Social Security Administration are getting automatic direct payments. SSI recipients should, as well.

     

    Call the Capitol Switchboard, ask for your Member of Congress. 

     

     (202) 224-3121

     

    When you’re connected:

    Ask them to sign the letter by Rep DeFazio demanding that SSI recipients get direct payments of the CARES Act stimulus payments.

     

    SSI recipients should not have to file taxes to get stimulus payments, this is an injustice and basic issue of equity and fairness. 

     

    Thank you

     

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    HALA Needs Volunteers

    Hunger Action LA needs volunteers

     

    Drivers to deliver meals and bagged food to recipients located all over LA County on Wednesdays: Meet on Wednesday, April 1, April 8, April 15, at 2 pm at 1432 West Adams Blvd, LA CA 90007 (at the farmers market)

    Please provide your contact information to info@hungeractionla.org

     

    Donations of cash or by PayPal for us to purchase ready-made meals from Everytable in bulk discount so we can provide meals to vulnerable people not able to cook: and for purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers markets to supplement diets of the recipients while supporting our local farmers

    www.hungeractionla.org/donate

     

    Donations of food: Please no expired food except packaged food within 2 months of the “best buy” date. Frozen meat is okay, prepared frozen meals, we are trying to limit canned food due to health issues of recipients.

    Provide your contact info to info@hungeractionla.org

     

    The recipients of the food are in the following priority groups

    *Blind and low vision persons

    *Seniors

    *persons particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, or with a disability, who should not be outside standing in food lines or with a lot of people at the grocery store

     

    Contact:

    info@hungeractionla.org

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    In Loving Memory of Beatriz Solis 1962-2020

    In Loving Memory of Beatriz Solis 1962-2020
     
    While we are all dealing with coronavirus fallout at this time Hunger Action LA would like to pause for us to mourn,  but also to  celebrate,  the life of Beatriz Solis of The California Endowment who passed away this morning (Saturday March 21)  after a long struggle with cancer.
     
    Beatriz was an extraordinary and compassionate individual who helped numerous organizations around Los Angeles, including us, with planning, logistics, and tremendous heartfelt encouragement. We will miss her and we extend our sympathy to her family, to The California Endowment, and to all of the community here whose work in fighting for equity in health care is her ongoing legacy. Goodbye Beatriz, we love you and appreciate all you have done.
     
    For more details:
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