According to a new study released last week, less than half of eligible Californians participate in CalFresh*, including 23,352 in Yolo County. Despite the fact that CalFresh utilization has increased during the recession, the state is missing out on nearly $5 billion ($30,424,909 lost in Yolo County) due to lack of participation.
The USDA ranked California the lowest in federal nutrition assistance participation. According to George Manalo-LeClair, Senior Director of Legislation at CFPA, Californians in need are missing out on funding because of institutional barriers. California still requires more paperwork than any other state and more trips to CalFresh offices.
Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has introduced legislation to encourage California to embrace more simplified requirements like the 49 other states. An easier method of participation in the CalFresh program could also benefit the state’s economy, as every $1 in CalFresh benefits generates $1.79 in local economic activity.
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In light of these statistics, the Food Bank of Yolo County has recently initiated a Food Stamp Outreach program to educate our neighbors in need about potential eligibility, the steps to enroll, and to dispel myths about the program.
*CalFresh, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, will begin to be adopted throughout California. At this time, Yolo County continues to refer to it as the Food Stamp Program while the transition is being made.
For any questions regarding CalFresh, please contact our Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator: