90 Percent Increase in CalFresh Program Participation
Sacramento, CA - Sacramento County's participation in the state's CalFresh program has increased to 90.8 %, up from from 70% in 2009, according to the California Food Policy Advocates' latest Program Access Index report. This means that 9 out of 10 people in Sacramento County who qualify for CalFresh (formerly known as Food Stamps) are receiving the benefit.
The increased participation is attributable to the outreach efforts of the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) working with Sacramento Hunger Coalition, River City Food Bank, Alchemist, Legal Services of Northern California, and other hunger advocates, food banks, and service providers. The Department and these groups are actively reaching out to educate and provide application assistance to groups that have historically not taken advantage of this important nutrition program.
"This report documents substantial progress to elevate CalFresh participation rates in our community. The Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance deserves a lot of credit as do our community partners dedicated to making sure thousands more eligible residents are using Calfresh to feed themselves and their families," said Phil Serna, Supervisor for District 1. "Higher participation rates mean more people are acquiring the nutrition they need to stay healthy, which reduces medical costs, gives children an opportunity to learn in school, and provides a local economic boost."
Department of Human Assistance Director Paul Lake added "This program can be the difference between a child not doing well in school due to hunger, and a child being able to reach his/her potential. It can be the difference between a senior citizen having nutritious meals at home or needing someone to take care of them because they can't afford to eat. Many Sacramentans don't realize they may qualify for CalFresh and don't have to be hungry. We are pleased we have been able to help so many people get the food and nutrition they need."
"During tough times, proper nutrition is essential to a person's well-being. This outreach has helped to ensure that families, who need help, get it. I am very pleased with the progress CalFresh has made, thanks to the thoughtful execution of the Department's outreach plan," said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer.
The CalFresh program was created to help low income individuals and families stretch their grocery budget and improve their health and nutrition. The amount of the benefit is based on the size of the household, income, and housing expenses. CalFresh benefits are issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card, called the Golden State Advantage Card, which can be used just like a debit card at most grocery stores and farmers markets.
The program is funded by a combination of USDA, California Department of Social Services, and Sacramento County and administered by the County's Department of Human Assistance. The benefit can be applied for online at https://www.mybenefitscalwin.org/
USDA has shown that every dollar in CalFresh expenditures generates $1.79 in revenue to the local economy. According to Department of Human Assistance data the economic impact of CalFresh to the local economy averages $55 Million per month.