April 4 Update: Support Flexibility in School Meals: Study of CalFresh Recipients Shows Why Many People Don't Get Benefits
Food Justice News April 4, 2022
What We’re Supporting in the State Legislature This Year:
- An acceleration of the planned increase in monthly payments to SSI recipients in California, who are by definition senior or disabled. This is a budget item for which we are advocating.
- Expansion of the CalFresh program to include all in California who need food, regardless of their immigration status. (Food 4 All)
- An expansion of the pilot program to add supplemental benefits for fruits and vegetables onto every CalFresh participants’ ebt card, allowing people to fight inflation and increase their nutrition intake. (AB 2153)
- A program to provide technical assistance to farmers markets and allow them to become hubs of healthy food for all the above mentioned groups (SB 907)
For more information on any of these bills and to become involved in Hunger Action Week---or legislative visits even before then---contact [email protected] .
Passing along notices from some of our friends at food justice organizations:
- Support Child Nutrition Around the U.S.: Alert from CA Association of Food Banks
- New Report: Fresh Ideas for CalFresh Details Reasons Why Angelenos Who Qualify for Public Assistance Don’t Apply (LA Food Policy Council)
Support Child Nutrition Around the U.S.: Alert from CA Association of Food Banks
From our colleagues at California Association of Food Banks: “Last week the Senate released the bipartisan Support Kids Not Red Tape Act of 2022 to extend school and summer meal flexibilities for another year. Both Senators Feinstein and Padilla are cosponsors! You can learn more about the bill here. Now is the ideal time to do another round of outreach for the House version H.R.6613, the Keeping School Meals Flexible Act.
Please reach out to your members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor H.R.6613:
- You can check our bill cosponsor tracker to see if your members have cosponsored (column H).
- Here's an email template you can use to make the request.
- If your member of Congress is a sponsor, please reach out and thank them!
Help support on social media –
Here's a social media toolkit you can use. Tag @CAFoodBanks and we'll amplify your posts!
New Report: Fresh Ideas for CalFresh Details Reasons Why Angelenos Who Qualify for Public Assistance Don’t Apply
Los Angeles, California - March 22, 2022 - The Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) released its “Fresh Ideas for CalFresh” report, a nearly three-year project (2019-2022) documenting the experiences of over 400 food insecure Angelenos across the county navigating public benefit programs like CalFresh. In fact, there are over 600,000 Los Angeles County residents who are eligible for CalFresh, but are not enrolled. Not having access to food impacts the health and well-being of families. The report finds the top reasons preventing Angelenos from applying to CalFresh include: misinformation, linguistic barriers, complex application process, lack of psychological safety, and not having access to quality grocery stores.
From project leaders to funders, this report is the first of its kind conducted and shaped by those with lived CalFresh experiences. “Community voice is power,” said Natasha Moise, Program Officer at First 5 LA. “What better way to inform policies and programs than from those who are directly impacted?” Given that one in three Los Angeles County households experienced food insecurity during the pandemic, this report informs how safety net programs can be improved and optimized for those who need them.
“CalFresh can be a lifeline for many,” said Christine Tran, Executive Director of LAFPC. “I grew up in a CalFresh household. My refugee parents worked very hard in sweatshops and on construction sites, yet their low-wage jobs were not enough to make ends meet. Programs like CalFresh eased the burden on my parents to not have to choose between feeding ourselves, affording gas, and paying rent.”
The project highlights the importance of listening deeply to communities and reframing CalFresh culture. One Angeleno in the report said, “I feel like the message [about CalFresh is that it’s] ‘for poor people’ and ‘leeches.’” This is a popular assumption that requires us to shift our collective thinking as a society. The report also uplifts lesser known facts like CalFresh is an economic stimulus. If all eligible Angelenos participated in CalFresh at 100%, Los Angeles County would receive federal funding that would annually circulate an additional $833 million in the local economy, paying for jobs while putting food on the table.
In response to the concerns brought up by food insecure Angelenos, the report convened systems of care stakeholders that included government entities, community-serving nonprofits, and other food justice advocates to workshop the following key recommendations:
- Ensure psychological safety throughout the CalFresh experience.
- Develop a skilled workforce to better serve Hard-to-Reach populations.
- Reduce administrative and emotional burdens on CalFresh participants and program administrators.
- Invest in CalFresh vendors and the local food supply chain.
Download the report: www.goodfoodla.org/calfresh