Expanding Access to CalFresh
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as “food stamps” – is our nation’s most important anti-hunger program. In California, this federal program is called “CalFresh.”
CalFresh is a vital source of nutrition for families with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, because it enables them to purchase food from local grocers and farmers markets. However, far too many eligible San Diegans are not receiving CalFresh because of complex guidelines and paperwork, or lack of awareness. San Diego Hunger Coalition is intently focused on removing these barriers to access.
CalFresh Task Force
In 2005, San Diego County participation rates in the program ranked among the worst in the nation. To address the issue, the Hunger Coalition launched the CalFresh Task Force, which brings together community based organizations helping individuals apply for CalFresh and County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) staff who determine eligibility and award benefits. CalFresh Task Force meetings also provide community based organizations with the most up-to-date CalFresh program information in a way that is easy to understand and implement.
Today, the CalFresh Task Force boasts more than 50 member organizations, including food banks, pantries, community clinics, social service agencies, churches, and representatives from various departments within the County HHSA.
At four monthly Task Force meetings, held in each region of the county, partners learn about best practices in client advocacy and application assistance, discuss the impact of regulatory changes, resolve challenges with specific cases, and coordinate outreach. Every quarter, the Task Force also holds a county-wide meeting, bringing together advocates, application assisters, County representatives and community stakeholders to collectively develop new ways to connect San Diego County residents to CalFresh resources.