The CalFresh Challenge is nearly over and I noticed that I have been estimating how much I spend on food each day. I did not purchase groceries for the week in the amount of $30.67 - I have been planning by day. I began to ask myself whether individuals on CalFresh know that to stretch their monthly allowance they would need to only spend $4.38 a day. Those of us taking the challenge we were given this information, and we were also supplied with a grocery list and recipe tips. Needless to say this made it a lot easier for me, and I am sure it also helped those that took advantage of these reinforcement materials. There are numerous real life stories from CalFresh recipients indicating that they run out of food towards the end of the month. Aside from only being given a bare minimum to live off of - do these individuals know how to effectively budget their money? If they do, then are they given recipe tips and tricks?
We were prepared for this challenge. Are CalFresh recipients prepared for theirs?
Financial and nutrition education is vital for these recipients. Supplemental income for food isn't enough - recipients need to be taught how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on such a low budget. Housing on Merit understands this reality and in order to combat it provides its residents with financial literacy workshops and nutrition education courses. HOM opens up learning opportunities for its residents, but these opportunities need to be made available to all CalFresh recipients.
The San Diego Financial Literacy Center and the Wells Fargo Hands on Banking program are free resources that provide essential tools to help combat financial illiteracy. The University of California system has also created a wonderful program called the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program. They offer classes for adults and children and have a wealth of knowledge on how to maximize their use of certain foods in order to avoid running out of food towards the end of the month. Bringing this education to CalFresh recipients allows them to have the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
-This entry is from a staff member at Housing on Merit. To read more about their experience, check out their blog here.