#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.


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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. 

Hunger Awareness Month 2017 was better than ever thanks to great partnerships and community support.

San Diego Hunger Coalition Executive Director Anahid Brakke addresses guests at the 2017 Hunger Free Fest

San Diego Hunger Coalition Executive Director Anahid Brakke addresses guests at the 2017 Hunger Free Fest

Each September, the San Diego Hunger Coalition takes part in Hunger Awareness Month to spread the word and raise money to fight hunger in our community. This year, our Hunger Awareness month efforts were bigger and better than ever thanks to great partnerships and community support. Throughout the month we partnered with different businesses to raise money to support our work. We also partnered with the member organizations of our Hunger Advocacy Network to make a greater impact spreading the word and advocating for hunger relief policies. Additionally, we held several opportunities for supporters to come together and have fun for a good cause.

On Saturday, September 16 we partnered with Ashley Lane Fitness to work out to fight hunger. Attendees got a heart-pumping 60-minute workout and were treated to refreshments and a raffle afterward.

Participants in the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s Work out to Fight Hunger at Ashley Lane Fitness pose to show their support after their workout.

Participants in the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s Work out to Fight Hunger at Ashley Lane Fitness pose to show their support after their workout.

On Thursday, September 21st we partnered with Panera Bread in Liberty Station and on September 28th we partnered with Chipotle in Mission Valley to eat out to fight hunger. Customers who dined out at these locations between 5 – 7 pm and showed the Hunger Coalition’s fundraising flier had a portion of their proceeds donated to our organization.

Our work culminated with our Hunger Free Fest on September 23rd at SMARTS Farm in the East Village. This family-friendly event brought together partners, donors, and other supporters for an afternoon of fun, gourmet food, and drinks in a beautiful setting. Guests enjoyed delicious hor d'oeuvres prepared by Chef Christopher Gardner of Volunteers for America Southwest and Chef Alex Caballo of Alpha Pizzeria and sipped on craft beer donate by 10 Barrel Brewing Company while playing yard games and bidding for the chance to win great raffle and silent auction prizes. Hunger Free Fest was a success thanks to a generous anonymous donation and sponsorships from Sharp Healthcare, Scripps Health, and the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation. From these contributions and proceeds from the event ticket sales, silent auction, and raffle we raised nearly $14,000 to advocate for state and federal hunger relief polices that help connect San Diegans in need to food assistance programs including CalFresh (also known as SNAP or food stamps) and school meals. Photos from the event can be viewed in an album on our Facebook Page.

Thank you to everyone who supported Hunger Awareness Month 2017!

Hunger Advocacy Network Visits Members of Congress in D.C.

The Hunger Advocacy Network and our state-level advocacy partners spoke about protecting    #CalFresh    with    Senator Dianne Feinstein   ’s staff.

The Hunger Advocacy Network and our state-level advocacy partners spoke about protecting #CalFresh with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staff.

Members of our team traveled to our nation’s capital to support and protect CalFresh and School Meals in San Diego County at the federal level as part of the 2017 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference held from March 5-7. Our Director of Policy & Advocacy Diane Wilkinson led members of the Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN) including Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank, along with our CalFresh team of Amanda Schultz Brochu and Marcia Garcia, in representing the San Diego region. The Hunger Coalition attends national conferences to connect with others in the field, learn innovative new approaches to their work, and best practices from other communities.

The annual conference provides opportunities for anti-hunger advocates across the nation to network with each other, build relationships with members of Congress, and attend informational sessions on topics ranging from using data to support storytelling to Breakfast-After-The-Bell Programs to immigration and public benefits to the effects of the economy and policy on food insecurity. On the conference’s Lobby Day, Diane and members of HAN met with San Diego’s members of Congress to discuss protecting nutrition and food assistance at the federal level to better serve our local work to end hunger. They met with Representative Scott Peters and his staff, as well as the staffs of Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Juan Vargas, Darrell Issa, and Susan Davis.

This year’s conference addressed the uncertain future of government assistance programs under a new administration. A major discussion point was the danger of block granting food assistance programs. Block grants would provide set funding amounts for these vital programs which can be detrimental in cases when there is an economic downturn or a natural disaster as this form of funding is prohibited from adjusting to cope with changing circumstances. Additional topics addressed were the need to protect the entire safety net (not just access to food), the importance of school meals in the future success of students, and how to work across the aisle to preserve programs that keep Americans fed.

The National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference was co-sponsored by Feeding America and the Food Research & Action Center in cooperation with the National CACFP Forum.

You can view some of our team’s favorite moments and other conference attendee experiences at this year’s National Ant-Hunger Policy Conference by searching the hashtag #hungerpc17 on social media.

Amanda presents on Hunger & Healthcare at Statewide Conference

For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity.

For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity.

Experts in the healthcare field are now better prepared to screen for food insecurity in their settings thanks to a presentation made by our CalFresh Outreach Director Amanda Schultz Brochu at this year’s California Food Policy Advocate’s CalFresh Forum.

The annual forum brings together hundreds of key stakeholders from across the state to identify opportunities and discuss strategies to improve the reach of CalFresh.

Amanda was a panelist with other public health and hunger experts presenting on models from their communities for identifying food-insecure patients in healthcare settings and connecting them to CalFresh and other food assistance programs. She presented on the San Diego Hunger Coalition's 2014-2016 work to integrate food insecurity screenings into healthcare settings in San Diego County, which included coordinating Rx for CalFresh pilots across six unique healthcare settings and developing a food security and healthcare curriculum in partnership with the UC San Diego School of Medicine. This work was the basis for our groundbreaking report Launching Rx for CalFresh in San Diego County: Integrating Food Security into Healthcare Settings.

Most of the San Diego pilots utilized the two-question screener developed by the USDA which has been scientifically validated to accurately identify individuals who are currently experiencing food insecurity. In a sample of 30,000 patients, the two-question screener identified 97% of food insecurity cases.  Patients at participating healthcare providers were asked to answer “often true,” sometimes true,” or “never true,” over the last twelve months if:

1.    We worried whether our food would run out before we got the money to buy more.

2.    The food we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more.

The San Diego pilots also helped identify the best options for enrolling patients in CalFresh ranging from referring patients to a local nonprofit providing application assistance, which can be a challenge for patients if the organization is not located within close proximity to where a client lives or works, to on-demand on-site assistance which has the best enrollment results but requires a full-time application assister. Clinics and hospitals that provide their own CalFresh application assistance often pair this with their existing Medi-Cal assistance program. 

An important part of Amanda’s presentation were the lessons learned from our Rx for CalFresh pilots. These included training medical staff on the connection between food security and health outcomes, as well as how to pose what can be very sensitive questions. Integrating screenings into Electronic Health Records was also found to be key in evaluating the process and outcomes and creating replicable templates that make it easier for more healthcare settings to use. 

Each panelist stressed the importance of being results driven and creating measurable action in order to get funding and effect policy as well as  using a collective impact approach to share learnings and metrics with others in the hunger, poverty and healthcare fields.

As a result of Amanda’s presentation, Second Harvest Food Bank in Orange County has already reached out to a healthcare system in their area to explore integrating food security resources.

CalFresh Alumni Project - Tekara's Story

Our CalFresh Alumni project champions successful Americans who once received CalFresh/SNAP (food stamps) but who are now independent, contributing members of our community, as well as individuals who currently rely on the program during a time of need.  With a temporary lift from this government program that continues to help feed millions of Americans every day, these people are persevering and accomplishing great things. They make San Diego stronger every day.  Read their stories; tell us yours.

Meet Tekara Gainey. Tekara works in community engagement and public affairs for a San Diego nonprofit organization. Tekara shares her experience as a CalFresh/SNAP recipient and how it supported her journey to become the successful, independent woman she is today.

Tekara Gainey

Tekara Gainey


At what point in your life did you receive CalFresh/SNAP (food stamps) and why?

I’ve received SNAP at various junctures throughout my life. My earliest memory of SNAP is as a young kid growing up in a single-family household. I later relied on SNAP when I was putting myself through college, both in pursuit of my Bachelors as well as my Masters degrees.

How long were you on CalFresh/SNAP?

In total, I was on CalFresh/SNAP for 7 years.

How did CalFresh/SNAP help you in your time of need?

My mother was working full time and we relied on SNAP to help put food on our table. This was back when SNAP was issued as vouchers. I remember going to the corner store and using our vouchers to purchase basic food items like milk, eggs, and bread. As a student, SNAP helped to alleviate some of the burden associated with working, attending school and paying bills.

How did receiving food assistance make you feel?

Relieved. I was already under an immense amount of stress working and going to school full time, barely able to afford rent, transportation, books, phone bill…the list goes on. Knowing that my capability of putting good, healthy food on the table was not compromised offered a lot of relief. I didn’t have to choose between eating lunch or eating dinner. I could do both. It was one less thing, on a list of many things, I had to worry about.

What are some common misconceptions you have heard people use about CalFresh/SNAP?

I've heard many people claim CalFresh/SNAP is only available to families (adults with young children), persons who are unemployed or homeless individuals. I’ve also heard people say CalFresh/SNAP couldn’t or shouldn’t be used at well-known grocery stores such as Trader Joes or Whole Foods. When speaking about people receiving CalFresh/SNAP, I’ve heard people claim recipients are abusing the system, lack the drive and will to get off SNAP, and are underserving of nice things (i.e., bags, shoes, clothes, etc.). An acquaintance once told me she was surprised to learn I was receiving SNAP benefits because I seemed so “put together”. I guess I wasn’t supposed to comb my hair that day!

What are you most proud of in your life? Or what are your dreams for the future?

I am proud of the life I’ve created for myself. I live in a beautiful city, have a wonderful, supportive, and strong groups of friends and family, and I am doing work that I am passionate about and that is making an impact.  

What do you want people to know about food assistance programs like CalFresh/SNAP?

Food assistance programs like CalFresh/SNAP give people control over their lives and choices. During my time of need, prior to receiving food assistance, my choices were often made for me, based on my circumstances. Deciding whether I should spend $50 to purchase a work uniform or put aside money for lunch for the week was a no-brainer. If I wanted a job, I needed the uniform. Going 8-10 hours without eating because I couldn’t afford breakfast AND lunch was not my choice, but rather my circumstance. CalFresh/SNAP made me the ultimate decision maker again, just as it does with others.


Our CalFresh Alumni Project features individuals who have used CalFresh in the past or are currently enrolled in the program and using it as temporary assistance to get ahead during a time of need. CalFresh is California's version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and is our nation’s most effective anti-hunger program. By telling the stories of those who have benefited from SNAP/CalFresh, we can more effectively raise awareness and advocate to maintain this vital program.

If you would like to take part in our CalFresh Alumni Project and share your experience with CalFresh/SNAP, contact Liz Faris at liz@sdhunger.org or 619-501-7917 ext. 106. Your story will be shared on our blog, in our newsletter, on our social media sites, and in communications with elected officials who have the power to preserve this important program. If you prefer, you may remain anonymous. Your story will still have a big impact!

Paper Plate Stories: Celebrating Six Victories to End Hunger

As part of September’s Hunger Action Month, Hunger Advocacy Network member organizations across San Diego County collected stories from clients, volunteers, and community leaders about how hunger affects them and their communities. These people wrote their stories on paper plates to share with elected officials and the public how hunger impacts those in our community every day. These efforts are especially important as the California legislature makes its final decisions on legislation that would have a positive impact in reducing food insecurity.

Every year, the partner organizations of the Hunger Advocacy Network consider all the legislation proposed by the California Assembly and the Senate. We focus our advocacy efforts on initiatives that will make a lasting impact on reducing food insecurity in San Diego County.

Along with our statewide partners, including MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, California Food Policy Associates, California Association of Food Banks, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the Hunger Advocacy Network continues to leverage the combined expertise of our 21 member organizations to advocate for policies in Sacramento that address the needs of San Diegans that go hungry. With the State legislative cycle drawing to a close, we have a lot of success to be proud of and plenty of momentum to continue our efforts.

Six Legislative Changes that will Reduce Local Hunger

The Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit (AB 1577): This credit helps reduce waste by encouraging farmers to donate excess fruits and vegetables to food banks to feed families throughout the county.  Every dollar in credit leverages approximately 10 – 20 pounds of donated food. Along with our statewide partners, we were able to increase the credit to 15% and extend the program through 2022. Approximately 80% of the produce distributed by Feeding San Diego and San Diego Food Bank is the result of this important tax credit.  

YESThis program was included in the State budget agreement that was signed by Governor Brown.

Food Assistance for Higher Education Students (AB 1747):  As the cost for college rises, fewer working class families have the resources to support their children in securing a degree and there are increasing incidences of student hunger and homelessness.  Proposed by local Assembly Member Shirley Weber, this legislation offers meaningful steps in supporting students struggling with food insecurity by establishing the Public Higher Education Pantry Assistance Program for supporting on-campus food pantries and hunger relief efforts for low-income students.  

YES Governor Brown signed this important legislation on September 12, 2016.

Market Match Nutrition Incentive Funding:  The California Market Match program was launched in 2009 to encourage low-income families receiving nutrition benefits to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets. This program doubles the purchasing power of nutrition benefits, such as CalFresh and WIC when used to buy California grown fruits, nuts and vegetables at farmers’ markets.  The California budget agreement that was approved by Governor Brown, includes an investment of $5 million dollars in this important program.  This will allow the state to leverage $5 million in Federal matching funds resulting in at least $10 million for the expansion of local nutrition incentive programs. 

YES This funding was included in the California budget agreement approved by Governor Brown.

Streamlining CalFresh Eligibility (SB 1232):  Low wage workers face significant barriers to participation in the CalFresh Program. Few have paid time off or reliable transportation to get to the county welfare department for the application process. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 reporting, only 53 percent of eligible working families in California receive this federally funded food benefit. This legislation would ease the burden on families by requiring state and county agencies that administer the CalFresh Program to use existing employment and income verification databases to simplify the eligibility process for CalFresh applicants. 

YES Governor Brown approved this legislation on September 12, 2016.

Ensuring School Breakfast for Children: One in four kids in San Diego County arrive to school without breakfast. Numerous studies have shown that eating breakfast can bolster academic achievement, reduce absenteeism and tardiness, and improve classroom behavior. Breakfast After the Bell programs bring breakfast into the classroom, ensuring all children have the nutrition they need to succeed. Our own Robin McNulty provided critical testimony on the effectiveness of this program to the State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

YES Governor Brown approved $2 million in funding in the State budget for public schools that want to startup or expand after-the-bell breakfast programs.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for the State Supplementary Program for the Aged, Blind and Disabled (SSP) (AB 1584): The state supplementary program awards monthly grants to help prevent seniors and other disabled adults from living in poverty. This benefit provides income support to individuals who are aged 65 or older, blind or disabled. Starting in 2008, cuts made by the Legislature and the Governor reduced grants to individuals to amounts well below the federal poverty level. This bill would be an incremental step in lifting over 1 million California seniors and disabled adults out of poverty by re-establishing the automatic cost-of-living adjustment as a permanent component of SSI/SSP.  

NO Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed this full effort on September 25, 2016. However, along with advocates across the state we were successful in securing a small one-time increase to the SSI/SSP program in the State Budget Agreement.  

Thanks to the efforts of advocates like you, we’ve been able to help inform our policy makers and generate real systemic change for San Diegans facing hunger. However, there is still more work to be done. Please join us in our efforts to ensure that all San Diegans have access to food at all times for a healthy future. 

If you are interested in more information on how you can make a difference as an advocate, please contact Diane Wilkinson at the San Diego Hunger Coalition at diane@sdhunger.org or by calling 619-501-7917.  

Disrupting The Cycle of Poverty and Hunger At Community College

Community college students are rapidly becoming one of the most food insecure populations in America. A recent survey of 4,000 community college students revealed that half of students were food insecure and 40 percent had struggled to find enough food to eat in the last thirty days.

Higher education has never been more important for breaking the cycle of poverty, but poverty is becoming an increasingly prohibitive barrier to a college degree. 65 percent of jobs now require post-secondary education, but community college costs have increased 28 percent since 2000. Only 26 percent of community college students seeking associates degrees earn them within three years, and the majority of those who don’t complete their degree cite financial reasons for leaving early.

Assistance to purchase healthy food is available through SNAP, called CalFresh in California. However, only 27 percent of community college students who are eligible for the program are enrolled. CalFresh is a monthly supplement to a household’s food budget that can offer community college students independence and food security, making the path to a degree more accessible. In turn, their family may also take another step toward breaking the cycle of poverty.

Our CalFresh Task Force recognized this important opportunity and chose to utilize our quarterly countywide meeting to begin the process of building CalFresh assistance into San Diego County’s community college system.

On May 26, 2016, nearly 50 CalFresh outreach organizations, community colleges and local state universities came together to build partnerships that connect more eligible students to CalFresh. Notably, San Diego Food Bank and Miramar Community College are now working together to develop a Fall CalFresh Application Clinic for Miramar students. This partnership will leverage the knowledge of the lifestyles and needs of Miramar students with the resources of campus and community-based organizations to help eligible students access CalFresh and a life-changing degree.

Collaborations such as this are an important step towards transforming San Diego County’s higher education infrastructure, making food security and a college diploma more accessible to all.

Speaking Up for Hunger Relief in Sacramento

 

An important part of ending hunger here in San Diego County is advocating for better hunger policies statewide. San Diego Hunger Coalition and members of the Hunger Advocacy Network travelled to Sacramento in May to talk with state legislators about important pieces of state legislation to help reduce hunger in San Diego County. Read on to learn about the policies we’re fighting for (or have already won!) and how they could help to ensure that no one in San Diego County goes to bed hungry.

AB 2054 - Nutrition assistance: Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for Children

What Does It Do?

AB 2054, co-authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), will prepare California to implement Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC). When it is approved at the federal level, this program will provide low-income families with a grocery supplement during the summer months for children enrolled in the Free & Reduced Price Meal Program. A small amount of funds are issued to EBT cards each month to supplement a household’s food budget. EBT cards function like debit cards, but can only be used to buy limited types of food and grocery items.

Why is it important?

Many low-income children who rely on school breakfasts, lunches, and after-school snacks during the school year go hungry during the summer months, when school is out of session. Hunger is especially detrimental for children, and bouts of hunger during summer vacation can impair development and hinder learning and academic performance during the school year. 

The San Diego Hunger Coalition’s 2014 report, Help Them Eat at Home, found that Summer EBT cards for children are one of the most effective and cost-efficient solutions for ending summer hunger. The study also informed a federal bill, the Stop Child Summer Hunger ACT.

Status

We’re excited to report that the bill passed unanimously (80-0) in the State Assembly, and now travels to the Senate. This bill has a lot of momentum but passing is never a guarantee. Your voice makes a difference. Here’s how you can help ensure the bill passes and children across the state don’t go hungry on summer vacation. 

AB 1747 – Food Assistance for Higher Education Students

What Does It Do?

AB 1747, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), will address growing incidences of hunger among low-income college students in California by giving the state several new tools to and improve coordination between college campus anti-hunger efforts and those in their communities. 

Why is it important?

Opportunities for low-income youth to escape poverty and climb into the middle class have narrowed over the past two decades. A college degree is an important tool in climbing the economic ladder; however, there have been increasing reports of college students who are limited in their opportunities to thrive in college by hardships like homelessness and hunger. This bill will support low-income college students by reducing hardships and barriers to graduation.  

Status

We’re excited to report that the bill passed the State Assembly and is now before the Senate. 

AB 1577 - CalFood Program: CalFood Account

What does it do?

Also known as the Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit, AB 1577 would offer most California farmers a 15 percent tax credit for the wholesale value of foods donated to food banks. AB 1577 is an improvement and extension of the existing tax credit program.

Why is it important?

This bill increases access to healthy foods for low-income Californians. To obtain donated food, food banks must compete with other ways that growers dispose of excess crops – including food going to waste – and a tax credit helps tip the balance for growers to contribute to food banks. Most of the produce distributed by San Diego Food Bank, Feeding America San Diego, and their partner pantries countywide comes from this tax credit program.

Status

We’re excited to report that the provisions in this bill were included in the California budget that was signed by Governor Jerry Brown.  

Increased Budget for Breakfast After The Bell

What does it do?

This would offer more high-need schools the ability to use innovative Breakfast After The Bell programs to increase children’s access to breakfast by providing it in the classroom.

Why is it important?

One in five kids in San Diego County arrive to school without breakfast. Numerous studies have shown that eating breakfast can bolster academic achievement, reduce absenteeism and tardiness, and improve classroom behavior. Many students have limited access to breakfast programs that open before school starts. Breakfast After The Bell programs bring breakfast into the classroom, ensuring all children have the nutrition they need to succeed.

Status

We’re excited to report that the California budget for 2016-2017 included $2 million dollars in grant funds for public schools that want to startup or expand after-the-bell breakfast programs.

Increased Budget for Nutrition Incentive Matching Grants

What does it do?

The California Market Match program was launched in 2009 to encourage low-income families receiving nutrition benefits to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets. This program doubles the purchasing power of nutrition benefits, such as CalFresh and WIC when used to buy California grown fruits, nuts and vegetables at farmers’ markets.

Why is it important?

In 2014, $450,000 in incentives drove $2M in spending on fresh fruits and vegetables at participating markets. That is a Social Return on Investment (SROI) of 440%, which is unprecedented in healthy eating interventions.

Status

We’re excited to report that the California budget for 2016-2016 includes an investment of $5 million dollars in this important program.  This will allow the state to leverage $5 million in Federal matching funds resulting in at least $10 million for the expansion of local nutrition incentive programs

Hunger Coalition Trains UCSD Medical Residents on Connection between Food Insecurity and Health

Hunger Coalition Trains UCSD Medical Residents on Connection between Food Insecurity and Health

As part of our larger effort to educate the healthcare providers about the impacts of food insecurity on health, our CalFresh Outreach Program Director Amanda Schultz has begun training medical residents at UCSD on how to screen patients for food insecurity. The aim is to connect food insecure patients to critical food resources, such as CalFresh (food stamps) and food banks, as well as reduce hospital and clinic readmission rates.

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Hunger Coalition Conducts FIRST CalFresh 101 Training in Spanish

Hunger Coalition Conducts FIRST CalFresh 101 Training in Spanish

In San Diego County, 25.2% of households speak Spanish at home. Many bilingual case managers and outreach workers fall into this category.  To better serve our nonprofit partners and help improve their CalFresh outreach, the Hunger Coalition is now providing CalFresh 101 class in Spanish. We held our first ever CalFresh 101 Training in Spanish on March 19th in Vista and the second on April 17thin City Heights.

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Need to Raise SSI Levels Gets Recognition from Assemblymembers Brown and Thurmond

 Need to Raise SSI Levels Gets Recognition from Assemblymembers Brown and Thurmond

Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino) and Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) introduced Bill 474 to increase SSI payments for people living independently from 91% of the federal poverty level to 112%. The bill was inspired by the grassroots advocacy of the CA4SSI organizations who brought SSI recipients to share their stories of hardship during Assembly hearings on the matter.

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Support Breakfast in the Classroom for Kids in California: AB 1240

Support Breakfast in the Classroom for Kids in California: AB 1240

Take DIRECT ACTION today by sending in your letter of support! AB 1240 would increase access to school breakfast by requiring schools to implement practical changes that integrate breakfast into the school day and make the most efficient use of existing state and federal funds.

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CA Lifts Ban on CalFresh for People with Prior Drug Felony Conviction

CA Lifts Ban on CalFresh for People with Prior Drug Felony Conviction

California’s recent lifting of a ban on CalFresh for those with a former drug conviction means access to critical food resources for individuals trying to turn their lives around. From advocating to repeal the ban to ensuring the new regulations are implemented on the ground, SDHC has been an important leader on this issue.

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