Melanie Wong | May 1, 202009:05 PM    

With 3.4 million Californians applying for unemployment benefits in the past five weeks, many of our friends and neighbors are looking for help with getting enough to eat. People are going to food banks for the first time. Some families wait hours for food. Food banks are designed to be emergency food supply and as charities do not have the resources to be a main source of food. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as CalFresh in California) provides 9 meals for every one provided by private charity and can provide food support for an extended period of time.

A simple and quick way to apply for CalFresh is online at GetCalFresh.org. This is a project of Code for America and an authorized application assistance tool. The State has received a waiver from USDA so that an in-person interview is not required at this time (through May 31) to apply for food assistance if all documentation is in order. The State has up to 30 days to approve/deny the application, but in most cases is approving benefits much faster now. In as little as two business days depending on the county of residence.

If you are an immigrant, this page has answers for some common questions about how CalFresh can affect your status.

Local Catholic Charities Organizations (LCCOs) provide CalFresh application assistance and outreach in parts of the State. If you live in one of the 17 counties of Fresno, Kern, Merced, Los Angeles, Yolo, Solano, San Diego, Imperial, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo, LCCOs can help you. They are especially skilled in working with immigrants, as they also provide immigration legal services.

Those are the two major service providers for CalFresh application assistance. By working with them, you can potentially avoid the wait for a county appointment. Many local food banks can help with applying for CalFresh benefits, so check there too.

If a member of your household or extended family is a senior or disabled person receiving SSI/SSP, they may be eligible for CalFresh benefits. The law changed last year where SSI/SSP recipients in California can now enroll in CalFresh. However, to date, less than half of those who are eligible have signed up. Enrolling them in CalFresh can bring more food dollars to your family. More info for SSI/SSP participants (English and Spanish) here,

County CalFresh office phone numbers,

Apply for California Food Stamps Online GetCalFresh.org

GetCalFresh can help you apply for California Food Stamps, also known as CalFresh, SNAP, Food Assistance, or EBT, in as little as ten minutes. Apply...

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