Since 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has worked to mobilize resources in the community to alleviate hunger. With the help of hundreds of partner agencies, the Food Bank is able to provide food assistance to hundreds of thousands of individuals every month.
In addition to the support from the Food Bank, individuals who need additional food assistance are encouraged to participate in the state’s CalFresh program, a comprehensive effort across Los Angeles County to increase access and participation in food assistance, reduce hunger and promote good nutrition.
CalFresh, formerly known as Food Stamps, is a food assistance program that helps people to stretch their food dollars so they can buy more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Formerly known as the Food Stamps Program, this is a federal program run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Eligible individuals can apply for CalFresh benefits through an application process through the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services (LADPSS). The Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach Team also assists families and individuals with the application process.
CalFresh is intended to help low-income people put healthy food on their tables each month. The program also stimulates state and local economies because it brings federal dollars into our communities everywhere that CalFresh benefits can be redeemed, such as grocery stores or Farmers’ Markets.
In order to be eligible for the CalFresh program, there is an income and assets eligibility process, and from there, an Eligibility Benefits Transfer (EBT) card will be issued to the individual and/or household with a set monthly stipend to be spent strictly on food products, with the exception of hot meals. No alcohol, tobacco, vitamins, or medicines may be purchased with the EBT card.
While CalFresh is a great service for California residents, the majority of its benefits deplete before the card is reloaded at the start of the month. With the rising cost of food, benefactors of the CalFresh program are not able to purchase the same amount of food they used to purchase before. This is where the Food Bank comes in.
All month long, the Food Bank and its partners reach hundreds of thousands of individuals across LA County, providing food assistance to those part of the CalFresh program, as well as to those that aren’t eligible. At these distributions, individuals may receive fresh fruits and vegetables, canned and bagged goods, dairy products, meats, as well as household essentials.
Hundreds of thousands of individuals benefit from the food assistance provided by the Food Bank. If you are in a position to do so, consider donating.
As we move further into 2023, new data is emerging that highlights the alarming extent of food insecurity in Los Angeles. Learn more here.
Foothill Unity Center in Monrovia helps families from all walks of life get the food assistance they need. Learn more here.
The CalFresh program will change eligibility criteria for college students starting June 10. Learn more here.
The Food Bank’s partner agency is addressing food insecurity in the San Fernando Valley. Learn more here.