There’s a lot of confusion about what CalFresh (also known as food stamps) is and how it works. CalFresh is a nutrition program, funded by the USDA, which also funds free lunches at schools and WIC; it’s not the same as CalWORKs or welfare. CalFresh is for people with limited income, to pay for food at most stores. Benefits come on an EBT card that works like a debit card.
In our efforts to build a hunger-free community, we work with many partners to inform our neighbors in need about free food programs like CalFresh.
Double Up Food Bucks
The Double Up Food Bucks program in Santa Clara County helps low-income families bring home more healthy food by doubling the CalFresh dollars they spend on California-grown produce. Available at three grocery stores (two in San Jose and one in Gilroy), the program has broad benefits: it makes healthy food more affordable for low-income families and individuals; supports economic development through grocery stores; and increases demand for California-grown produce.
Double Up Food Bucks California, a project of SPUR, was launched in California in the fall of 2016. It’s based on a model pioneered by the Fair Food Network in Michigan in 2009 and is similar to other healthy food incentive programs in California and across the country.
The project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant program, as well as support of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, The Health Trust and the John & Marcia Goldman.
Food Connection Application Assistance Partnership Program
Our Programs and Services team developed the Food Connection Application Assistance Partnership program to empower our partner agencies to screen their clients for CalFresh and Food Bank food programs and help them apply. A single food program rarely provides enough food and the program encourages our partners to consider the full menu of food programs for their clients.
Partners receive training, outreach materials and other support from our staff. The first training occurred in March 2017 and Downtown Streets Team and Peninsula Healthcare Connection were our first partner agencies to complete the program.
There are other ways that community organizations can partner with our Food Connection team:
- Host Partners- Allow a Food Connection Specialist to visit your agency and assist clients with the application process. Optional: set appointments for your clients
- Referral Partners- Ask Food Security questions and submit referral forms to Food Connection for follow up with your clients