Food & Justice News Mar 23, 2020

Food & Justice News Mar 23, 2020


  1. Demand Congress Include Small Farmers in Small Business Relief
  2. Demand Sick Days for Food Workers:
  3. Resources for Food and Shelter During Coronavirus

Demand Congress Include Small Farmers in Small Business Relief

There is an urgent need to reach out to your members of Congress today. We are hearing from our partners on the hill that farmers who sell direct to the public are being left out of the small business relief package that's being negotiated and we still don't have clear guidance at the federal level that farmers markets are essential services. 

Please take a moment this morning and contact your members of congress. Below is a sample script you can use. You can find contact info for your members of congress here


Sample email or phone script:

“Hello, my name is ______________ and I'm calling from _____________.


I am calling today to ask that Representative/Senator_____________ support after the small scale, independent American farmers who sell directly to consumers through farmers markets and other channels. 

Farmers markets and the farmers who sell at them urgently need 3 things at this time:

  • Clarification from the CDC that farmers markets are essential public services as tens of thousands of farmers and millions of consumers  rely on them for their livelihood and food access
  • Inclusion of direct to consumer farmers and farmers markets in the small business COVID19 relief package currently being negotiation in Congress
  • Extension of the deadline and waiving of match requirements for the current Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program grant Request for Applications.

Thank you,


Demand Sick Days for Food Workers:

Restaurant Opportunities Center United has created a petition, and urge you to call on all corporate-owned restaurant chains, including Dine Brands (Applebee’s and IHOP), Bloomin’ (Outback Steakhouse), Brinker (Chili’s), Cracker Barrel, and Denny’s, to immediately implement paid sick leave. Together, in this time of public health crisis, let’s push for emergency paid sick days that these food chains must provide. /


Resources for Food and Shelter During Coronavirus

Mutual Aid in Los Angeles: Here’s a Mutual Aid volunteer sign up for people in Los Angeles who either NEED assistance, or can OFFER assistance, or BOTH. This can be to help with grocery delivery, errands caregiving, etc. Thanks to for setting this vital service up!

NextDoor App: If you can access the NextDoor app on a smartphone you may be able to find neighbors who have offered rides, delivery etc. and other forms of help especially for seniors and people needing special assistance:

Grocery Stores Opening Early for Seniors, Disabled, Pregnant Women (Exact Groups Depend on Particular Store)


Los Angeles Unified School District Grab and Go Meals for Students


CalFresh and other Public Benefits: Offices Closed But Phone and Online Are Available

LA County Department of Public Social Services Press Release: “All DPSS offices are temporarily closed to the public until further notice; however, we are continuing to provide services through our website and call centers.” For New Applicants: Customers can apply for the following benefits online through the Your Benefits Now website or by Calling the DPSS Customer Service Center at (866) 613-3777.

CalFresh:  Food benefit program for individuals and families;

General Relief: Cash assistance program for single adults;

CalWORKS: Cash assistance program for families;

CAPI: Cash assistance program for immigrants; and

Medi-Cal: Health benefits for individuals and families.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS): in-home provided care for persons with a disability can be applied for by calling the IHSS Application line at (888) 944-4477 or the IHSS Helpline at (888) 822-9622.

For Existing Customers: In accordance with Governor Newsom's Executive Order, ALL DPSS benefits, including Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKs and General Relief benefit payments will be issued without interruption for the months of March, April and May 2020 Customers can upload period reports (QR-7 or SAR-7), annual recertifications or renewals, or verifications online through the Your Benefits Now website or by calling the Customer Service Center at (866) 613-3777. Governor Newsom issued an executive order on Wednesday: SNAP households (among other benefits) will have their annual recertifications waived for 90 days – i.e. no recertification interview or paperwork required from those who have one due in the next 90 days. Benefits will continue to be granted and people will not be terminated from benefits for lack of submitting their recertification.

WIC Families are receiving remote benefits during COVID-19 crisis: From PHFE WIC: “In Los Angeles County, during this period of social distancing, many WIC centers have transitioned from providing face-to-face services to providing remote services to families through active outreach by phone, text and email.  WIC is also responding to those who contact us via phone and text.  Please be assured that WIC is able to upload food benefits to the WIC card for families already participating in the program, and is actively engaged in enrolling new participants remotely.”

People who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 crisis and are pregnant, postpartum or have a child under five years old can apply for WIC services by texting APPLY to 91997, calling WIC at 888-942-2229, or visiting


Please show courtesy to WIC shoppers: A suggestion from Daily Kos:  “Unless you qualify for the program, please leave WIC-approved items on the shelf as you stock up during this coronavirus outbreak. If you’re in a nightmare scenario where these are the only items left, of course, do what you need to do. But if other options are available, or if you can reasonably get to another store, come back another day, or so on, please think twice about buying out what might be someone else’s only option. 

While every person’s individual situation is different, it’s worth considering that for people who are approved for WIC, money and resources are likely tight all around; people might not have their own reliable transportation, for example, or might not be able to afford childcare while they bounce from one market to the next. If those scenarios are more of an inconvenience than a true barrier or risk for you, consider leaving the WIC-approved item on the shelf.”


Food banks need volunteers:  Californians can learn about ways to assist their community at California Governor Gavin Newsom last week announced the deployment of California National Guard members to provide short-term food security to isolated and vulnerable Californians. Building on Governor Newsom’s prioritization of protecting the most vulnerable from the COVID-19 pandemic, the short deployment will help to stabilize the immediate need of food banks.



New Shelters for Homeless Open in LA


Homeless Families Occupy Vacant Homes: Families can’t wait on government and take over abandoned homes owned by CalTrans


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