#MythbusterMonday - April 2018

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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.


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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.

San Diego Hunger Coalition is Part of a Strong San Diego County Contingent at the 2018 CalFresh Forum

The San Diego County contingent at the 2018 CalFresh Forum. 

The San Diego County contingent at the 2018 CalFresh Forum. 

Our CalFresh Team, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and members of our CalFresh Task Force descended on our state’s capitol to advocate for policies that support CalFresh (known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP at the federal level and formerly known as food stamps) and engage with other CalFresh providers at this year’s California Food Policy Advocate’s (CFPA) CalFresh Forum and CalFresh Peer-to-Peer.

Each year, the CalFresh Forum brings together hundreds of key stakeholders from across the state to identify opportunities and discuss strategies to improve the reach and impact of this vital food assistance program and hear directly from state and federal leaders regarding the current state of CalFresh and how to ensure the program continues to be available for those who need it.

San Diego County was well represented at this year’s forum. Albert Garcia, CalFresh Program Manager for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency presented on opportunities to connect Medi-Cal recipients to CalFresh benefits in our region. Ismael Lopez, CalFresh Community Liaison for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services won the forum’s “Freshy” award for CalFresh Outreach Leader of the Year Award!  Members of our CalFresh Task Force also in attendance were Feeding San Diego, Heaven’s Windows, Neighborhood Healthcare, 2-1-1 San Diego, San Ysidro Health Center, San Diego Food Bank, La Maestra Community Health Centers, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego, and Alliance for African Assistance.

Additional highlights from this year’s CalFresh Forum include dynamic presentations on how to protect and strengthen CalFresh given by Kim McCoy Wade, Chief, CalFresh Branch for the California Department of Social Services, Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Ed Bolen, Senior Policy Analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

CalFresh application assistance agencies also met the day prior to share best practices and strategies for outreach with fellow case managers across the state as a part of the CalFresh Peer-to-Peer Forum, hosted by the California Association of Food Banks.  At this statewide meeting, partners gained new perspectives on CalFresh college student outreach, Disaster CalFresh, and ways to talk to clients about potential changes to eligibility and time limits for childless adults (also known as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents or ABAWDs). The San Diego Hunger Coalition, Feeding San Diego and San Diego Food Bank served on the planning committee for this event.

California Assemblymember Todd Gloria with San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy Amanda Schultz Brochu. 

California Assemblymember Todd Gloria with San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy Amanda Schultz Brochu. 

While in Sacramento, our Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy Amanda Schultz Brochu took the opportunity to meet with Assemblymember Todd Gloria and staff members from six other California Assemblymember’s offices. She discussed food insecurity in San Diego County and AB 3033, a State Assembly bill authored by Assemblymember Brain Maienschein and co-sponsored by the San Diego Hunger Coalition and the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations that would make it easier for people applying for Medi-Cal using Covered California to apply for CalFresh at the same time.

#MythbusterMonday - March 2018 Myths Busted!

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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 March, we busted the following hunger myths:

March 5

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 February. Click here. 

March 12

#MythbusterMonday "You must have a place to cook and store food to get SNAP/CalFresh benefits." False! You can’t be turned down for SNAP/CalFresh benefits because you don’t have a kitchen or a place to cook. Click here to read more myths and facts about SNAP/CalFresh for homeless persons from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

March 19

#MythbusterMonday "SNAP recipients are lazy and don't work." False! According to The Hamilton Project "The vast majority of food-insecure households with children are working households: over 85 percent of households with children reporting food insecurity in 2014 also reported at least one adult who earned an income in 2014. Among every type of household reporting food insecurity—i.e., households headed by married couples, single mothers, or single fathers—at least 75 percent of households had an earner during the year they experienced food insecurity. Nonetheless, the income generated by work over the year was not sufficient to protect those working families from food insecurity. Click on the link to read more fact about food insecurity and SNAP. 

March 26

#MythbusterMonday "Our youth organization can't provide meals because we don’t have a kitchen or space to prepare food." False! Many nonprofits partner with a sponsor like a school or food bank to prepare the food or work with a vendor to serve room temperature, healthy options that don’t require a kitchen for preparation or significant refrigeration space. Interested in starting or expanding youth meals in your area? Visit our Hunger Free Kids webpage to learn more. 


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

#MythbusterMonday - February 2018 Myths Busted!

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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 February, we busted the following hunger myths:

February 5

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 January. Click here.

February 12

#MythbusterMonday "Too many people are taking advantage of CalFresh/SNAP." False! After unemployment insurance, CalFresh/SNAP, is the most responsive federal program available to provide additional assistance during economic downturns. Enrollment expands when the economy weakens and contracts when the economy recovers.The program also provides important nutritional support for low-wage working families, low-income seniors and people with disabilities with fixed incomes. Read more from Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC.

February 19

#MythbusterMonday "The pre-determined food boxes for SNAP recipients in President Trump's latest budget proposal will support American farmers and be similar to fresh meal delivery services like Blue Apron." False! The pre-determined food boxes Trump is proposing will contain canned and non-perishable food items, there would be no fresh fruit, vegetables or meat. This proposal is about enabling the government to save money by buying in bulk in order to make up for the $1 trillion deficit that will be left by the new tax plan passed at the end of 2017.

February 26

#MythbusterMonday "Government programs enable people to be lazy and live on society's dime." False! Receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) hardly enables anyone to live well. The average benefit equates to roughly $1.40 per person per meal. And in most cases, the money runs out before the month ends. Learn more from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger


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A Year in Review 2017

As we look back on the past year, we’re motivated by everything we and our more than 100 partners accomplished together to help our fellow San Diego residents access the food assistance resources.

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Now, we’re sharing our favorite 2017 wins with you. Thanks to your support, we:

1. Saved Breakfast in the Classroom for at least one more year for more than 1,000 students in the Lemon Grove School District by providing advocacy training and support to our partners as well as parents and students.

2. Supported the City of Oceanside and Oceanside Unified School District to expand afterschool suppers and Summer Meals in the city thanks to a grant from the National League of Cities, Combating Hunger through Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs (CHAMPS) initiative.

3. Helped more than 215 households access food assistance by resolving over 230 technical issues with their CalFresh/SNAP applications.

4. Trained 369 staff, volunteers, and interns from hunger relief and human service agencies to provide CalFresh/SNAP application assistance.

5. Directed more than $326,000 to local nonprofits helping low-income individuals and families apply for CalFresh/SNAP, as a contractor for the state CalFresh Outreach Program.

6. Supported the passage of 4 State hunger relief policies that will help more eligible children and adults enroll in CalFresh and free and reduced-price school meals and broadens the tax credit for donated fresh fruits and vegetables.

The fight to end hunger continues in 2018. Our partners on the ground know how great the need for food assistance is, but the current administration has set its sights on dismantling and weakening CalFresh/SNAP by targeting the program for deep cuts disguised as “entitlement reform.” It will take all of us, raising our voices and telling our stories, to protect and strengthen these programs so that they remain available for the nearly 500,000 food insecure people in San Diego County.

You can get involved in the fight against hunger by signing up to be a Hunger Free Activist, sharing your experience with CalFresh, or making a donation to support our work.

#MythbusterMonday - January 2018 Myths Busted!

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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 January, we busted the following hunger myths:

January 1

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 December 2017.  Click here. 

January 8

#MythbusterMonday “Senior hunger is only a problem for poor people.” False! Senior hunger is not just an income issue. It is also a problem of access and care. Many seniors who can afford it, lack the mobility to get and prepare their own meals and don’t have other support systems to help them. Those same seniors and others live in areas that are more difficult to access. Click here to read more myths about senior hunger from HuffPost. 

January 16

#MythbusterMonday "Hunger in the U.S. is only found in poor urban neighborhoods." False! Hunger is also found in rural America. According to Feeding America, "People who live in rural areas often face hunger at higher rates, in part because of the unique challenges living remotely presents. These challenges include an increased likelihood of food deserts with the nearest food pantry or food bank potentially hours away, job opportunities that are more concentrated in low-wage industries and higher rates of unemployment and underemployment." Click here to learn more. 

January 22

#MythbusterMonday - "With programs like Breakfast in the Classroom, kids will eat twice or too much." False! A 2015 study by health professionals published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concluded that breakfast in the classroom was not associated with an increase in calorie intake at breakfast time or throughout the day. If anything it led to more kids getting breakfast. Click here to read more from No Kid Hungry.

January 29

#MythbusterMonday "The U.S. is the richest country, so we have less hunger." False! According to a 2014 guest column by Tracie McMillan in The Chautauquan Daily there are about 49 million Americans who say they run out of food at least once a year (1 in 6) — putting the U.S. at the bottom of the pack when it comes to our country's economic peers. In many European countries, the ratio of hungry to fed is one in 20.


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

#MythbusterMonday - December 2017 Myths Busted!

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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 school 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 December, we busted the following hunger myths:

December 4

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 November 2017. Click here

December 11

#MythBusterMonday "Too many people take advantage of CalFresh/SNAP benefits." False! After unemployment insurance, CalFresh/SNAP is the most responsive federal program available to provide additional assistance during economic downturns. Enrollment expands when the economy weakens and contracts when the economy recovers.

December 18

#MythbusterMonday "Breakfast in the Classroom makes a mess." False! Many teachers and principals say that any mess or trash issues can be overcome with a smart system. Creating roles and opportunities for students to clean up after themselves can make breakfast a simple experience. Click here to read more from No Kid Hungry.
 

December 25

#MythbusterMonday “Government assistance is a waste of money and doesn't accomplish its goals.” False! Poverty rates would likely double without safety net programs like CalFresh/SNAP and add to human suffering. Last year, the safety net lifted 38 million people, including 8 million children, out of poverty. Click here to read more myths about poverty.


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

REPLACEMENT CALFRESH AVAILABLE FOR RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY SAN DIEGO COUNTY WILDFIRES & POWER OUTAGES

Last updated: December 14, 2017

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Replacement CalFresh

Due to the number of residents affected by power outages and wildfires in San Diego County, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency received a waiver that extends the deadline to request Replacement CalFresh. Residents who lost benefits and live in the impacted zip codes below have until January 4, 2018 to request Replacement CalFresh.

The impacted zip codes include: 91901, 91905, 91906, 91916, 91917, 91931, 91934, 91935, 91948, 91962, 91963, 91980, 92003, 92026, 92027, 92028, 92036, 92054, 92056, 92057, 92058, 92059, 92060, 92061, 92065, 92066, 92069, 92070, 92082, 92083, 92084, and 92086.

Residents requesting replacement CalFresh must complete a CF 303 Form (English  | Spanish) and an Affidavit of Loss form (English | Spanish). These forms must be submitted in person at a County of San Diego HHSA Family Resource Center (find a location here) or the Local Assistance Center at the Vista Branch Library (700 Eucalyptus Avenue). 

Benefits will be restored to the CalFresh EBT card for that individual or household. The maximum replacement benefit individuals can recoup is one full month’s worth of benefits. Replacement Requests will be processed and benefits will be reissued within 10 days of submitting.

Local Assistance Center (LAC) open from December 11 - 16, 2017

The County of San Diego has opened a Local Assistance Center in Vista to help individuals and families affected by the Lilac Fire. County and community-based organizations will be available this week to provide case management, crisis counseling and referral services, tax relief information and records replacement, short-term housing referrals, CalFresh/SNAP resources and information, information on residential rebuilding and permitting and consumer fraud and a mobile medical clinic. For more information, residents can call or visit:

  • Local Assistance Center is located at the Vista branch library at 700 Eucalyptus Avenue and will be open from 9am- 6pm. the site will remain open until Saturday, December 16th. 
  • Residents who live in the unincorporated part of San Diego County may call the Recovery Assistance Hotline at 858.495.5200 or email CountyFireRecovery@sdcounty.ca.gov.

Congratulations to our 2017 CalFresh Award Winners

The collaborative power of the CalFresh Task Force is fueled by the passion and innovation of its members.  The annual CalFresh Task Force Awards honor individuals and organizations making major strides toward ending hunger in San Diego County. Awardees are nominated and voted for by Task Force members.

CalFresh Outreach Partner of the Year – Legal Aid Society of San Diego

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Laura Zuniga-Huizar of Legal Aid Society of San Diego with the CalFresh Outreach Partner of the Year award. Laura accepted   the award on behalf of her colleague Tila Nunn-Miller.

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Laura Zuniga-Huizar of Legal Aid Society of San Diego with the CalFresh Outreach Partner of the Year award. Laura accepted the award on behalf of her colleague Tila Nunn-Miller.

Tila Nunn-Miller of Legal Aid Society of San Diego is a phenomenal advocate for individuals who encounter difficulties navigating the CalFresh process. Through her work, Tila ensures all parties understand the process, rules, and regulations that govern CalFresh benefits. Tila is a social justice champion who prides herself on assisting others and gives her all to assist anyone with CalFresh, CalWORKS, General Relief, and CAPI questions. While Tila was unable to attend the end of the year CalFresh Task Force meeting where the awards were presented, her colleague Laura Zuniga-Huizar (pictured above) accepted the award on her behalf.

CalFresh County Liaison of the Year – Michael and Patrick Schmidt, Program Specialists

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Patrick Schmidt with the CalFresh County Liaison of the Year award. Patrick also accepted the award on behalf of Michael Schmidt who was unable to attend the CalFresh end of year meeting.

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Patrick Schmidt with the CalFresh County Liaison of the Year award. Patrick also accepted the award on behalf of Michael Schmidt who was unable to attend the CalFresh end of year meeting.

Michael and Patrick Schmidt support community-based organizations’ work to ensure eligible residents are awarded CalFresh benefits through their work managing the County of San Diego HHSA’s new case issue escalation email. Created in conjunction with the San Diego Hunger Coalition, the HHSA escalation email allows community organizations to elevate challenging cases to a team of experts for additional investigation and support. Michael and Patrick’s team provides quick and thorough customer service which allows for a prompt resolution to any case issues partners may experience. Community partners reported, “clients have provided great feedback from their interactions working with both Michael and Patrick and expressed feeling like their concerns are properly addressed.” Michael was unable to attend the end of year CalFresh Task Force meeting, Patrick (pictured above) accepted the award on both of their behalves.

CalFresh Outreach Partner & County Collaboration – La Maestra Community Health Centers, Health Coverage Access, and EOPS Department at Southwestern College

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu   presents Daniela Cervantes of La Maestra Community Health Centers and Monica Moreno of Health Coverage Access with the CalFresh Outreach Partner and County Collaboration award.  

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Daniela Cervantes of La Maestra Community Health Centers and Monica Moreno of Health Coverage Access with the CalFresh Outreach Partner and County Collaboration award. 

Starting in the fall of 2016, La Maestra Community Health Centers began working with the Southwestern College’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) Department and Health Coverage Access (HCA) to provide same-day-service CalFresh application assistance on campus. La Maestra reported, “this new partnership has made it easier to connect likely eligible students participating in EOPS with CalFresh benefits by providing onsite support and simplifying the application process.” The Hunger Coalition is happy to have facilitated this partnership, resulting in ongoing efforts to connect eligible students to benefits, including seven same-day-service events on campus last academic year.

CalFresh Outreach Partner & Community Collaboration – Feeding San Diego and the EOPS Department at San Diego City College

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Rachel Oporto of Feeding San Diego and Salem Berhanu and Mercedes Tiggs of San Diego City College with the CalFresh award for Outreach Partner and Community Collaboration.

San Diego Hunger Coalition Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz Brochu presents Rachel Oporto of Feeding San Diego and Salem Berhanu and Mercedes Tiggs of San Diego City College with the CalFresh award for Outreach Partner and Community Collaboration.

After meeting at a CalFresh Task Force meeting, San Diego City College’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) Department and Feeding San Diego partnered to provide CalFresh application assistance on campus, and are going strong! The EOPS team has worked diligently to make it easier for students to successfully access benefits, collaborating with their financial aid department to help students successfully obtain necessary forms, and always keeping an open door for students to come ask questions about their case. Currently, Feeding San Diego is onsite on a monthly basis and is working with the EOPS team to partner with the Disability Support Programs and Services department and Mental Health department to further expand CalFresh outreach.

The Hunger Advocacy Network's 2017 State Policy Priorities Pass!

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Each year, the Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN), facilitated by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, selects State hunger relief policies to prioritize for its lobbying efforts. This year, HAN was aided by a new wave of support from its grassroots Hunger Free Activist network. These everyday activists and partners receive periodic opportunities to use their voice, when it matters most, to support key pieces of legislation that will protect and expand programs like CalFresh/SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and School Meals. The Hunger Free Activists’ tweets, posts, calls, emails and letters over the past year worked! All of HAN’s state priority policies either passed or were included in the 2017-2018 state budget.

2017 State Priority Policy Initiatives

SB 138 (McGuire) - Feed the Kids: This law increases access to free and reduced-price school meals by implementing Medi-Cal Direct Certification statewide and calls upon very high poverty schools to offer free school meals to all students.
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown - October 12, 2017

AB 1219 (Eggman) – Good Samaritan Food Donation Act: This law clarifies and expands existing liability protections for food donors to reduce waste and increases resources for San Diegans struggling with food insecurity. 
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown - October 9, 2017

AB 607 (Gloria) - Community Resiliency & Disaster Preparedness Act of 2017: This law protects against increased hunger and hardship of low-income families during a disaster by requiring the CalFresh program to maximize replacement benefit options during a disaster or power-outage and provide additional budget resources to be triggered in the case of a disaster declared by the Governor to improve the success of a federal request for disaster anti-hunger assistance and administration of the aid.
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown - October 5, 2017

AB 214 (Weber) – College Hunger: This law addresses college student hunger by defining terms used in the CalFresh program to determine eligibility and clarifies the law concerning CalFresh Restaurant Meal Program on college campuses.
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown - July 24, 2017

AB 164 (Arambula) – California Leads to Meet Food Needs: This funding will establish a new state-funded anti-hunger CalFresh benefit to be issued under prescribed circumstances, such as drought, disaster, or in the case of federal SNAP ineligibility, and to be issued using the EBT system.
The 2017-2018 Budget includes one-time funding of $5 million for a CalFresh Unsafe Drinking Water Benefit Pilot program. This program will provide benefits to residents served by public water systems that fail to meet safe drinking water standards. 

What’s Next?

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed versions of a FY 2018 Budget Resolution that expedites tax cuts for the wealthy, at the expense of programs that support low and middle-income people. This includes threats to cut SNAP (known as CalFresh in California). In the coming months, Congress will be writing the budget legislation that they will vote on. As details become available, we will be back in touch to ask you to contact members of Congress and ask them to protect important federal programs that provide food assistance to members of our community. 

San Diego Hunger Coalition Facilitates Panel on Hunger and Healthcare for Be There San Diego

Experts in healthcare and hunger participate in Be There San Diego’s University of Best Practices series. 

Experts in healthcare and hunger participate in Be There San Diego’s University of Best Practices series. 

Our Senior Director of CalFresh and Advocacy, Amanda Schultz-Brochu, recently organized and moderated an eye-opening panel on screening for food insecurity at healthcare settings hosted by Be There San Diego as part of their University of Best Practices series. Amanda engaged experts in healthcare about their work related to food insecurity, the innovative programs they have launched to address this issue, and the impact their work has had on their patient’s health. The Hunger Coalition’s Rx for CalFresh report has served as a catalyst for screening for food insecurity at healthcare settings.

Click here to read more about this important discussion from Be There San Diego. 

#MythbusterMonday - November 2017 Myths Busted

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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 school 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 November, we busted the following hunger myths:

November 6

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 October 2017. Click here. 

November 13

#MythbusterMonday "I don't know anyone suffering from food insecurity." False! In San Diego County 1 in 6 people don't have enough to eat for an active, healthy life. A staggering 1 in 5 are children. It is likely that we all know someone who may not know where their next meal is coming from. Visit our Hunger in San Diego webpage to learn more. 

November 20

#MythbusterMonday "It’s better for local charities to feed people, not the government." False! Food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens were not designed to do this. Instead, they were created to solve temporary or emergency situations, not systemic problems. Click here and see Myth 2 from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

November 27

#MythbusterMonday "Breakfast in the Classroom places an unnecessary burden on teachers." False! Two out of three educators whose students eat breakfast in the classroom are fans of the program. Teachers find that with clear procedures, breakfast can take less than 15 minutes, has a calming effect and sets a positive learning atmosphere. Click here to read more 'Breakfast in the Classroom' myths from No Kid Hungry

Why 1 in 6 People in San Diego County Don't Have Enough to Eat

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A family walks up to the cashier at the grocery store, takes out their wallet to purchase food, and doesn’t have enough to pay for the items on the checkout belt. How did they get here?

It is easy to conclude that this family made poor individual choices and decisions. Perhaps they didn’t budget their money wisely that month. Perhaps they haven’t put in the effort to find a higher-paying job. Perhaps they rely on CalFresh/SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and already used up all their monthly benefits.

The reality of food insecurity in San Diego – and across the nation – is far more complex than individual choice and isolated moments at the checkout line.

Living Wage Jobs

Unless a person sustains themselves entirely on food they grow themselves – something that has become increasingly rare in the United States – they need a source of income. Finding and securing a living wage job is not a simple feat. One needs training, education, work experience, and connections to gain employment.  

In San Diego County, a staggeringly high cost of living and high competition for a limited number of living wage jobs intensifies the challenge. If a San Diegan does not have a basic adult education and lacks work experience, it may take anywhere from three to five to as many as ten years to overcome this barrier. While a person pursues career training or education, they must survive with a limited income. When faced with costs related to career and education, food often becomes a “flexible expense.” One group this often applies to is college students. In 2016, nearly 20% of University of California students reported experiencing very low food security. Facing the rising costs of books, supplies, and tuition, students may skip meals to pay for their education.              

Cost of Food, Time, and Transportation

Food prices (and the relative prices of other necessary goods) impacts whether people experience food insecurity. In San Diego County, the average cost of a meal is $3.23, higher than the national average of $2.94. Further, to shop for and cook food at home requires time, food literacy, and cooking skills. This means that more afforable (and less healthy) prepared food is often the only viable option.  

 Lastly, a person may struggle to make it to the checkout line at all. For residents who live in a “food desert,” the nearest grocery store may be far enough away to necessitate a car ride. The cost of owning, maintaining, and fueling a car can add up. In car-dependent San Diego County, the weight of these costs is particularly heavy.

Policies

Federal food assistance programs act as vital safety nets for those experiencing financial hardship. However, these programs are not always available to those who need them. The Federal Poverty Level – the metric that determines eligibility for these programs – is an outdated measure that only captures extreme deprivation.

For example, to be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits, a person must have a household gross monthly income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The 2017 Federal Poverty Level threshold for a family of four is $24,600, so 200% of that level is $49,200. In San Diego County, however, a family of four may need as much as 300‐365% of the Federal Poverty Level (or $73,800 - $89,790) to meet their most basic needs, especially if their children are not yet in school and require childcare.

Further, the structure of federal food assistance is such that as a person gradually rises in income level, attaining more skills and training, they experience sharp cuts in benefits. This “benefits cliff” traps people between ineligible for benefits but not making enough to make ends meet. Lastly, many of those who are eligible for federal food assistance do not receive benefits because of complex eligibility guidelines, excessive paperwork, or lack of awareness.

Household and Individual Characteristics

Many factors outside of individual choice affect whether a person has enough food for an active, healthy life. A person's mental and physical health status may serve as a barrier to food access. This often includes veterans, the elderly, and those living with disabilities, among others. For example, in San Diego County, 49.1% of food insecure adults are disabled. Whether a person has a partner or spouse to supplement income can influence their ability to access food. For example, in San Diego County, 64.6% of low-income single parent households are food insecure.

Persistent Historical Inequality

Perhaps the most enduring root cause of food insecurity in the United States is racial, ethnic, and class-based inequities that span generations. Inequity has been deeply entrenched in policies and practices throughout our history. This inequity has created a divide in the accumulation of wealth (savings, home, or business equity) that historically advantages some populations, while disadvantaging others. Low-income people, people of color, women, single mothers, people with disabilities, etc. are more likely to experience food insecurity because of intergenerational inequality.

For example, over the past 30 years, the average wealth of white families has grown by 84% —1.2 times the rate of growth for the Latino/a population and 3 times the rate of growth for the African American population. This mirrors the reality of food insecurity in San Diego County, where food insecure adults are disproportionately Latino/a. 52.7% of food insecure adults are Latino/a, versus 26.3% that are White.

The Reality of Food Insecurity

In sum, food insecurity is the result of a complex relationship between the ability to acquire and maintain a living wage job, the cost of food, time, and transportation, food assistance policies, and enduring historical inequalities. When we see food insecurity with this lens – not a result of poor individual choices, but a result of a complex array of environmental, social, and historical factors – we are better able to make strides in ensuring that all San Diegans have enough food.

- Authored by Rosa Rada, 2017 Emerson Hunger Fellow

 

#MythbusterMonday - October 2017 Myths Busted

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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 school 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 October we busted the following hunger myths:

October 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 September 2017 here.

October 9
#MythbusterMonday “People on food stamps are just lazy.” False! The majority of SNAP (formerly know as food stamps) recipients (75% nationally) who can work, do so. Those who are employed, often at multiple jobs, can’t always earn enough to cover their costs and afford the nutrition necessary for themselves and their family. Click to learn more from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

 October 16
#MythbusterMonday “SNAP fraud is common.” False! "SNAP fraud rates are extremely low. Every year, states thoroughly evaluate a sample of their SNAP accounts to determine rates of fraud and errors; they also investigate trafficking (selling benefit cards for cash). And it turns out, less than 1% of SNAP benefits go to people who should have been considered ineligible." Click here to learn more.

October 23
#MythbusterMonday “All poor people get food stamps.” False! The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 1/4 of eligible people don’t sign up. Many people don’t know they are eligible for federal nutrition assistance. Others don’t sign up because they have trouble navigating the system or fear being stigmatized.

October 30
#MythbusterMonday “You have to be a U.S. citizen to get CalFresh.” False! Some eligible legal immigrants may qualify for CalFresh. Ask your local CalFresh Office. Click here to find a location.


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


#MythbusterMonday - August 2017 Myths Busted

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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 school 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 August we busted the following hunger myths:

August 7

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 July 2017 here

August 14

#MythbusterMonday Our latest food insecurity data for San Diego County is out! Nearly 1 in 6 people in our region don’t have enough food for an active healthy life. Does this data debunk any #hunger myths you’ve heard? Which ones? Click here to view the latest food insecurity data for San Diego County. 

August 21

#MythbusterMonday “Schools serve junk food for school lunch.” False! Meals served as part of the National School Lunch Program must meet nutrition guidelines based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. School meals must comply with requirements like age-appropriate calorie ranges and sodium limits and must provide less than 10% of calories from saturated fat and contain zero grams trans-fat. Click here and see Myth #3 to learn more from the Poway Unified School District

August 28

#MythbusterMonday “Too many ineligible children are receiving school meals on my tax dollar.” False! There is no evidence that many in-eligible children are receiving free or discounted school meals. In fact, studies suggest that the number of Americans eligible for supplemental food assistance programs like school meals is dramatically underestimated and that these programs are underutilized. 


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


#MythbusterMonday - July 2017 Myths Busted

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 school 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 July we busted the following hunger myths:

July 3

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 June 2017 here

July 10

#MythbusterMonday “Children of families already receiving SNAP benefits can’t qualify for free summer meals.” False! Free summer meals are open to any youth under the age of 18, no matter what other assistance they may be receiving.

July 17

#MythbusterMonday “People on SNAP eat more junk food than anyone else.” False! According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report less healthy items like soda are one of the top purchases by both SNAP and non-SNAP households. “There were no major differences in the expenditure patterns of SNAP and non-SNAP households, no matter how the data were categorized.”

July 24

#MythbusterMonday “SNAP is a drain on taxpayers.” False! Approximately every $1 spent in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity. SNAP is one of the most effective economic stimulus available. Click here and see #3 to learn more. 

July 31

#MythbusterMonday “Summer meal sites are only for young children.” False! All summer meal sites are open & free to EVERYONE under age 18. Teens face the same risks of food insecurity in the summer as young children. 


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

#MythbusterMonday - June 2017 Myths Busted

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 school 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 June we busted the following hunger myths:

June 5

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 May 2017 here

June 12

#MythbusterMonday “There are no hungry kids in my community.” False! Hunger exists in every community. Nationally, 1 in 6 youth are food insecure. In San Diego County it is 1 in 5. Click here to learn more myths about child hunger programs. 

June 19

#MythbusterMonday “Charities should feed people, not the government.” False! While charitable organizations like food banks, pantries and soup kitchens are on the front lines of fighting hunger they aren’t designed to feed entire communities. They were created to solve temporary emergency situations, not systematic problems. Click here and see #2 to learn more.  

June 26

#MythbusterMonday “Children must sign-up to receive free summer meals.” False! Summer meal sites are open sites which means they are open to the community and do not require that children sign up in advance or even ‘check-in’ at the site. Click here and see #2 under the "For Families" section to learn more. To find a free summer meal site near you text ‘FOOD’ or ‘COMIDA’ to 877-877 or call 2-1-1.


Follow the San Diego Hunger Coalition on Facebook and Twitter


San Diego Hunger Coalition Releases Latest Food Insecurity Data for San Diego County – 1 in 6 Don’t Have Enough to Eat.

The San Diego Hunger Coalition has released its 2015 San Diego County Food Insecurity Analysis, which estimates more than half a million people (almost 1 in 6) don’t always have enough food for an active and healthy life. Of these people, nearly 162,000 are children, which is a shocking 1 in 5.

The San Diego Hunger Coalition’s food insecurity analysis is based on 2014 and 2015 data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). The survey is conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Center for Health Policy Research, and food security is evaluated for households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. San Diego Hunger Coalition’s analysis represents the most current and accurate understanding of food insecurity rates in San Diego County.

While common myths associated with people who rely on federal food assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California, suggest that many benefitting from these programs do not work, the Hunger Coalition’s analysis found that more than half (56.1%) of food insecure adults have a job, and nearly half (49.1%) are living with a disability.  Other key findings were that approximately 40 percent of low-income adults and nearly half of low-income children are living in a food insecure household. The complete 2015 San Diego County Food Insecurity Data is available online here

Additionally, for the first-time San Diego’s anti-hunger community is also examining the population that responded to the CHIS survey as “food secure” but receiving CalFresh benefits. The Hunger Coalition estimates that more than 143,000 people (67,208 are children) who are below 200% of the poverty line are at risk of becoming food insecure if they lose their CalFresh/SNAP benefits. This could become a reality under President Trump’s recently released 2018 budget proposal which calls for $193 billion in cuts to SNAP over the next decade —25 percent of the federal program’s budget.

By regularly assessing our region's food insecurity landscape, San Diego County's anti-hunger community can identify data driven solutions to help connect our most vulnerable populations to the nutrition they need to thrive and be independent. Additionally, this data will be used to advocate for state and federal anti-hunger policies that help families in need put food on their tables. 
 

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!