Raising Awareness for Food Assistance

Hundreds of low-income families in Los Angeles County are eligible for food assistance, and many don’t even know it. To let more people know about the availability of monthly food stipends, county, state and federal agencies have teamed up with local grocers, farmers’ markets, food banks and school districts for a campaign to spread the word about the CalFresh program. CalFresh provides a maximum monthly allowance of $176 to low-income individuals to buy food at various markets and stores throughout the county.

According to the Department of Public Social Services, as of March, 1.1 million Los Angeles County residents receive CalFresh benefits. An estimated 1.1 million additional individuals, however, are potentially eligible to receive assistance. The mission of the campaign is to increase the number of participants in the program, reduce hunger, promote good nutrition and remind the public that assistance for food is available. To jump start the campaign, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas made a presentation before the board to support the effort.

“One of the highest priorities of the Department of Public Social Services is to reduce food insecurity in Los Angeles County,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “This year’s campaign will place a heavy focus on the nutritional benefits of CalFresh.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of nationwide homes lacking adequate food more than tripled in the last four years. Studies suggest that household hunger negatively impacts the intellectual, physical and emotional development of children. In addition, poor eating habits increase the risks for obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

“While the local economy continues to improve we know there are many residents that are in need of food assistance,” said Los Angeles County Director of Pubic Social Services Sheryl Spiller. “Hunger is an issue that affects us all. We want to make sure that no child goes to bed hungry.”

Hoping to ease fears among hopeful recipients of the CalFresh program, officials confirm that receiving food assistance does not affect a person’s immigration status nor will any recipients be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

To learn more about the CalFresh program and to view the CalFresh community events calendar, please visit: http://dpss.lacounty.gov/dpss/calfresh/awareness.cfm

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