Second Harvest teamed up with the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department for our first ever CalFresh Community Day to answer questions, complete enrollments, and communicate the importance of CalFresh while the kids played games and took turns on the smoothie bike! Over 90 households attended the February 2nd event.
Nearly 20,000 of the people in Santa Cruz County who are qualified for CalFresh, California’s version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), do not take advantage of it–that’s about 42% of those eligible. Reasons range from inadequate awareness, difficulty signing up or renewing, misinformation, and more.
When it comes to fighting poverty in Santa Cruz County, expanding CalFresh participation really is low-hanging fruit. It helps lower-income households meet their basic nutritional needs so that children can learn and thrive and adults can focus on work, or finding work, and pursuing life’s opportunities.
Far from being overburdened, the program could help so many more people who could really use it. The safety net is already in place–the funds have been authorized by Congress–but they don’t help if they don’t get claimed. It doesn’t require another act of Congress, only a more concerted effort to connect people to the program designed to help them.