CalFresh enrollment in SLO County has increased by 20 percent from February 2022 to February 2023
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — CalFresh Awareness Month is just around the corner, and the SLO Food Bank is gearing up for a month-long campaign throughout May to raise awareness about this program.
The CalFresh Program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a nutrition assistance program that provides eligible individuals and families with monthly financial assistance to purchase healthy food at grocery stores and some farmers’ markets. SLO Food Bank honors this month by promoting CalFresh in debunking myths through social channels and hosting enrollment assistance sites across the county.
In San Luis Obispo County, the SLO Food Bank, along with the CalFresh Alliance and other stakeholders like the SLO County Departments of Public Health and Social Services as well as the University of California Cooperative Extension, have been working hard to increase CalFresh enrollment rates, and their efforts are paying off. Currently, CalFresh is utilized by 23,720 people to buy healthy and nutritious food in San Luis Obispo County. According to the CDSS CalFresh Data Dashboard Monthly Participation, CalFresh enrollment in SLO County has increased by 20 percent from February 2022 to February 2023. The SLO Food Bank is proud to be part of the effort to provide nutritious food to those who need it most.
“The SLO Food Bank is steadfast in our role as a strong advocate and partner for maximizing local participation in CalFresh. Greater participation in CalFresh is a win-win for our community: this program provides vital funding to help alleviate hunger and it brings designated federal funds to local businesses,” said SLO Food Bank CEO Garret Olson. “CalFresh Awareness Month is an important opportunity to educate, encourage, and support all who face food insecurity to receive the help they need and deserve. It’s difficult to thrive on an empty stomach.”
To further increase CalFresh enrollment and close out CalFresh Awareness Month, the SLO Food Bank has organized application assistance sites across the county in conjunction with Hunger Awareness Day on June 2. At these sites, individuals will receive one-on-one assistance in applying for CalFresh benefits with the help of local hunger heroes from the Department of Social Services and SLO Food Bank volunteers. The assistance sites will be held at the Atascadero Public Library, Morro Bay Public Library, SLO Public Library, Nipomo Public Library, and Arroyo Grande Public Library. No appointment is necessary, and individuals can drop in between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., except for the Arroyo Grande Public Library, which will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.
To start the application process, individuals must provide a form of identification, proof of income, and social security or legal resident identification. The immigration status of any person applying for CalFresh is confidential and is only used to determine eligibility for benefits in their household.
“We want to make it easier for clients to apply for CalFresh and eliminate any barriers they may face, like access to a computer or a scanner,” said Venessa Rodriguez, CalFresh Outreach Manager. “Our amazing hunger heroes are here to help answer any questions about CalFresh and make sure neighbors are getting the support they need.”
For more information on CalFresh and how to apply, visit GetCalFresh.org/s/slofoodbank or call 1 (877) 847-3663. Let’s work together to ensure that everyone in San Luis Obispo County has access to healthy, nutritious food.