Anyone who has been to the grocery store recently knows that $50 just doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. Grocery costs have increased rapidly and made it even harder to access nutritious food. Finding and choosing healthy options can feel impossible when unhealthy food is so much more available and affordable in communities like South Central Los Angeles with few grocery stores and many fast food places.
That’s why Golden State Opportunity (GSO) and Black Women for Wellness (BWW) are partnering to help Black women in Los Angeles enroll in CalFresh and claim the dollars they need to provide healthy and nutritious food for their families.
CalFresh dollars help fight hunger, improve healthy food access, and reduce the impact of income inequality, but many eligible people don’t know how to claim their money. In 2018, only 74% of eligible residents in Los Angeles County claimed CalFresh benefits. Too many families are leaving critical food money on the table at a time when every penny counts.
At biweekly healthy food distribution events, we’re helping Black women with low wages find out if they’re eligible and navigate every step of the process to enroll in CalFresh benefits.
CalFresh is California’s version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as “food stamps”. September 29 marked the 45th anniversary of this landmark anti-poverty program that helps people pay for food when money is tight.
A lot has changed in the last 45 years to reduce the “food stamps” stigma and make CalFresh benefits easier than ever to use. You can now use benefits just like a debit card both in stores and online.
The Biden Administration permanently increased maximum SNAP benefits by 30% earlier this year to better reflect the true costs of a basic healthy diet that includes easy-to-prepare meals. That means more cash for food each month. This welcome change comes after multiple studies found that families ran out of their benefits too early, a problem made worse by rising inflation.
CalFresh also gives you more options on where to buy nutritious food. These days, CalFresh benefits can be used at farmer’s markets to buy delicious fresh produce from local farms. Some farmer’s markets help your dollars go further by matching the CalFresh dollars you spend there.
Your bank account or zip code should never stop you from living a healthy and active life. But unfortunately, that’s the reality for so many Black families in Los Angeles struggling with hunger and food access. We’re here to help.
If you’re living on a limited income and feeling the pinch of rising costs in grocery stores, we hope you’ll join us to learn more about how CalFresh can .
stretch your budget during these challenging times. Get started at www.calfresh.org/?source=gso
Benjamin Todd Jealous serves as a board member for Golden State Opportunity (GSO), a statewide nonprofit that works to end poverty by connecting low-income communities with resources to build financial stability. He is also the president & CEO of People For the American Way and the former national president & CEO of NAACP.
Janette Robinson Flint is the executive director of Black Women for Wellness, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit committed to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment and advocacy.