#MythbusterMonday - April 2018


We begin each week using our online voice to debunk myths about hunger. Our #MythbusterMonday social media series dispels misinformation and stigma commonly associated with food assistance programs like CalFresh/SNAP and youth meals and the people who rely on them to help put food on the table.  

What hunger myths have you heard? Join us in sharing the truth about hunger each Monday using the hashtag #MythbusterMonday.

In April, we busted the following hunger myths:

April 2

The first Monday of the month we take a look back at the myths busted the previous month. Check out the myths we busted in March. Click here. 

April 9

#MythbusterMonday "People who receive public benefits are 'takers' rather than 'makers,' " False! This is untrue for the vast majority of working-age SNAP recipients. SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, currently serve about 42 million Americans. At least one adult in more than half of SNAP-recipient households is working. The average SNAP subsidy is $125 per month, or $1.40 per meal – hardly enough to justify quitting a job. Click here to read more from the Chicago Tribune. 

April 16

#MythbusterMonday "CalFresh/SNAP is a drain on tax-payers." False! CalFresh/SNAP is good for the economy. Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity. Click on the here to learn more and read other myths about CalFresh/SNAP. 

April 23

#MythbusterMonday "People who get CalFresh/SNAP benefits aren’t employed and have no incentive to look for work." False! CalFresh/SNAP helps people stay afloat in between jobs. Nationally, more than 80 percent of SNAP participants reported working in the year before or after receiving SNAP. In San Diego County, the current average CalFresh benefit per person is $4.10/day, hardly an incentive not to work. Take the #CalFreshChallengefrom May 7 - 11 to experience what its like to live on an extremely limited food budget. Click here to learn more and register.

Follow the San Diego Hunger Coalition on Facebook,  Twitter, and Instagram

San Diego Hunger Coalition and the Hunger Advocacy Network Oppose the Cuts and Changes to SNAP Included in the House of Representative’s Draft of the Farm Bill

SAN DIEGO, April 12, 2018 –  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as CalFresh locally, and formerly known as food stamps) that serves more than 260,000 residents of San Diego County is being targeted for devastating structural changes that will increase hunger and poverty in our region. The federal Farm Bill, which houses the SNAP program, is scheduled to be reauthorized this year. The House of Representative’s Agriculture Committee released their first draft of the Farm Bill yesterday which disregards evidenced-based policymaking in favor of unfounded and aggressive work requirements as well as other restrictions that will harm low-income people and families teetering on the edge of stability.

Proposed changes to SNAP in the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee’s version of the bill include creating harsher rules for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), who like many others turn to CalFresh/SNAP when jobs are lost, hours are cut, or wages don't cover basic living expenses. The proposal would place an additional burden on states to develop new bureaucracies to develop and implement employment and training programs on an extremely limited budget of $300 per participant. The proposal also expands work requirements to CalFresh/SNAP beneficiaries between ages 18 and 59 who aren’t disabled or raising a child under age six.

Additionally, the House's version of the Farm Bill also proposes to eliminate what is known as "categorical eligibility" for the majority of CalFresh/SNAP households with gross incomes modestly above 130 percent of the federal poverty line, regardless of how high the household’s child care or housing costs may be and whether such costs leave them with disposable income below the poverty line. Categorical eligibility is currently used by 40 states, including California, to adjust income cutoffs and asset limits so that low-wage working families don't abruptly lose their CalFresh/SNAP benefits when they earn slightly more.   Click here for an issue brief on CalFresh/SNAP's impact in San Diego County. 

“The San Diego Hunger Coalition and Hunger Advocacy Network are deeply disappointed with the proposed changes to the SNAP program included in the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee’s draft of the Farm Bill. The current average CalFresh benefit per person is $4.10 per day. This amount already isn’t enough. These changes will be devastating to our region’s most vulnerable populations, many of whom are working hard but falling short due to low wages and San Diego County’s high cost of living. CalFresh/SNAP helps people cover the basic need of putting food on the table so they can get back on their feet more quickly,” said San Diego Hunger Coalition Executive Director Anahid Brakke.

To help raise awareness and show our representatives in Congress how much CalFresh/SNAP means to San Diego County, the San Diego Hunger Coalition and Hunger Advocacy Network are encouraging people to walk in the shoes of someone on CalFresh/SNAP by taking their 2018 #CalFreshChallenge from May 7 - 11. Register for the #CalFreshChallenge at SDhunger.org/CFC.

Each year, the San Diego Hunger Coalition encourages people who don’t have to worry about having enough food to try living on the average CalFresh benefit per person of $4.10 for one day on May 7th or $20.50 for all five days from May 7-11.  The #CalFreshChallenge is a way to raise awareness about the benefit of the program, advocate for hunger relief policies with elected officials, and raise money for the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s CalFresh Task Force to help connect more eligible people in need to the program.

More than 150 San Diegans Live on a Food Budget of $4.18/Day to Raise Awareness About Hunger

Caption: UC San Diego students wear orange buttons to show they are taking the #CalFreshChallenge.

Caption: UC San Diego students wear orange buttons to show they are taking the #CalFreshChallenge.

Can you live on a food budget of $4.18/day? More than 150 San Diegans did between May 8 and 12 to raise awareness and money to fight hunger in our community as part of the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s annual #CalFreshChallenge. This year’s Challenge took place in May to coincide with CalFresh Awareness month.  Each year, the Hunger Coalition challenges people to live on the average CalFresh (also known as SNAP or food stamps) benefit per person which is now $4.18/day in San Diego County. Participants could take the Challenge for 1 day or a full 5 days.


Additionally, Challenge participants and community partners helped raise more than $6,700 throughout the month of May to support the CalFresh Task Force’s work to connect eligible people in need to the program. Top fundraisers were:

  • Top Staff Fundraiser – Dr. Heidi Gjertsen
  • Top Non-Staff Fundraisers – Vi Calvo, Dave Rice, Luke Vickrey
  • Top CalFresh Partner Fundraiser – Ana Echeverria Rubio and the HHSA Hunger Fighters
  • Top Community Partner Fundraiser – 10 Barrel Brewing Company

CalFresh provides temporary assistance in a person or family’s time of need. According to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, more than 285,000 people – nearly half of whom are children – are receiving CalFresh benefits. The average time households in San Diego County receive CalFresh is less than two years. 

With federal support and funding for SNAP uncertain under the current administration, joining the fight against hunger in our region is more important than ever and doesn’t end with the #CalFreshChallenge. Sign-up to become a Hunger Free Activist and receive periodic opportunities for you to use your voice to advocate for state and federal anti-hunger policies. Learn more and sign up here.

Thank you to everyone who took this year’s #CalFreshChallenge and came to our happy hour to our happy hour on May 25th!

2017 #CalFreshChallenge - Cassandra's Challenge Experience

Each year, the San Diego Hunger Coalition challenges people who don't have to worry about food to live off of the average CalFresh (also known as SNAP or food stamps) benefit per person in San Diego County. The 2017 #CalFreshChallenge took place May 8-12 and participants lived on a food budget of $4.18 for one day or $20.92 for five days. This year, many of the Hunger Coalition's anti-hunger partners that work to enroll eligible people in need in the CalFresh program took part in the Challenge. Cassandra Reese, a CIRS Enrollment Specialist at 2-1-1 San Diego shares her #CalFreshChallenge experience below. 2-1-1 San Diego serves as a nexus to bring the community (organizations) together to help people efficiently access appropriate services, and provide vital data and trend information for proactive community planning.


Grocery list

  • Eggs (18) - $3
  • Dry Beans 1 lb $ 1.75
  • Cheese 1 lb $4
  • Sour cream $1.98
  • Cottage Cheese $2.98
  • Peach cups $1.88
  • Drink packs (10) $1.00
  • Margarine $1.00
  • Ritz crackers $1.98

Total 18.80

My Plan is to alternate between eggs and cottage cheese with fruit cups for breakfast. The Ritz came with four packs so this is my snack for the entire of week

I had planned to have backed potatoes with sour cream for dinner, but that won’t happen unless I can find a bag of potatoes for under $2 because that’s all I have left in the budget.

The red beans will be lunch for the week. I was going to put it in tortilla for bean and cheese burritos. So I’ll either chose between the potatoes or tortillas with the remaining budget.

Day 1  Upbeat & ready to go

  • Breakfast - 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Lunch - red beans w/ cheese slices
  • Snack - Ritz crackers
  • Dinner - will also be red beans
  • Drink  - 1 peach tea packet w/ water

Day 2 The hardest day

I was soooooooooo hungry!!! I didn’t plan my meals or snacks well enough to prevent or get through the hunger. I was so hungry that I ate through over half of the snack (crackers) that I had bought to last the entire week. It made me wonder if families in need also run into this dilemma and use up most of their CalFresh benefits or the food they bought for the month in the first few days/weeks and then struggle to have enough food to sustain them through the rest of the month.

After I shared with my coworkers my day one experience, including my grocery list and my remaining budget, a couple of them suggested that I go to the 99 Cent Only store.  Since, I only had $2.10 left in my overall budget I decided to go to see what they had available.

To my surprise the 99 Cent Only store not only had everything I had bought Day 1 at Walmart, but also for more than half the price. If I had only gone to this store first I would’ve been able to get DOUBLE the food and snacks to last me throughout the week. I would have also been able to get fruits, veggies, and more.  So with my remaining $2 I bought tortillas and an extra snack to last me the rest of the week.

Day 3 The Day of Temptations

Still hungry but not constant cravings like Day 2. Today’s challenge was temptations throughout the day. The first hour of work I was offered donuts and coffee. Then on my way to my break I was offered candy. At lunch, in the break room there were free sandwiches and the most beautiful looking spinach, cranberry, feta cheese salad with balsamic dressing. My resolved almost faltered after seeing the salad. Later,  a coworker decided to sit a bag of chips on my desk when I went to the printer. When I came back I took the bag of chips back to their desk.

After work, when I went to pick up my daughter my mom gave me a tray of pastries to take to my daughter's class the next day for teacher appreciation day.


While preparing dinner I was presented with another moment of understanding. I started to make my dinner when I saw that I was running very low on all the food I’d bought. So I started to worry and ration the portions of how much I could eat and still have enough left for the last two days.

Day 4 Almost there

The home stretch is here and still hungry but not as much.


I MADE IT……HOORAY!!!!!.........BUT still hungry!

I am happy and yet disheartened all at the same time. Happy because I was successful at completing the challenge and my awareness of hunger is more prevalent than it has ever been.  But disheartened because I know families on CalFresh don’t have the ability or option to go back to spending whatever they chose on meals and their struggle to provide food for their families is ongoing. The poverty and working poor gap is widening everyday while benefits are diminishing. Under the current administration, the state of these much needed benefits are hanging in the balance. I wish the San Diego Hunger Coalition much success and support in your daily efforts to bring about hunger awareness and funding for your MISSION TO END HUNGER.