LOS ANGELES (CNS) — You may qualify for “CalFresh” — food stamps — and not even know it.
About 41 percent of eligible people don’t participate in the anti-hunger drive, either because they don’t know about it or because of a perceived stigma associated with the program.
Los Angeles County officials have launched a campaign to reduce hunger and promote healthier food choices.
Supervisor Hilda Solis joined the director of the Department of Social Services and representatives from more than 40 community organizations and local businesses to declare May “CalFresh Awareness Month.”
Many Angelenos who sometimes go hungry don’t realize that they qualify for CalFresh, more commonly known as food stamps, according to DPSS director Sheryl Spiller.
“This collaboration represents an intense effort to inform and educate those most vulnerable to hunger,” Spiller said.
Others chose not to apply for aid because of the stigma sometimes associated with food stamps. To help address that issue, the state has rebranded the program under the CalFresh name and now issues benefits via an electronic benefit card that functions like a bank debit card at the grocery store.
Nearly 1.2 million people in Los Angeles County, more than half of them children, receive CalFresh benefits. Roughly 41 percent of those eligible do not participate, according to DPSS.
Benefits are scaled based on income. An eligible individual with no income would receive $194 per month, while a family of three without any income would receive $511 per month.
Los Angeles County has the largest “food insecure” population in America, according to a recent study by Feeding America. In addition to hampering children’s intellectual, physical and emotional development, hunger puts them at greater risk for obesity, diabetes and other diseases.