CalFresh, formerly known as Food Stamps, is California’s implementation of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This vital program aims to reduce hunger for low-income Californians by providing assistance for purchasing food.
According to Feed America — an organization with a mission “to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger” – one in six Californians struggles with hunger. Locally, the SF-Marin Food Bank plans on feeding 225K of our neighbors in 2016.
MEDA Financial Capability Program Manager Jaqueline Marcelos works to ensure that all of the nonprofit’s eligible clients are aware of CalFresh benefits. Part of that is basic education around the income guidelines for the program.
Explains Marcelos, “Clients feel more comfortable coming to MEDA, an organization they have trusted for years. We are here to help.”
Marcelos and team member Laura Ospina-Jaramillo have already successfully processed 34 CalFresh applications this year, and they want the community to know that the application process is simple.
- Come to MEDA for a quick conversation to learn if you are eligible and what paperwork is needed.
- At your home, scan or take a picture of that paperwork and email it to MEDA.
- MEDA files paperwork with City and County of San Francisco Human Services Agency.
- Within 30 days, the client hears back if they are eligible (based on household size and net monthly income – see chart below).
- Get an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card (pick up or have mailed to you).
- Use EBT card at grocery stores and farmers’ markets based on the maximum CalFresh allotment.
Available for purchase with the EBT card is any food for human consumption, except hot food (although there is an exception for authorized hot-meal programs and approved restaurant-meals programs). Even seeds and plants may be bought to grow food for your family.
Sums up Marcelos, “I hope families will stop by MEDA for a short talk with me or Laura to see if they qualify for CalFresh. There is help for our families available. The process is easy, and MEDA is here to help!”