As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we're promoting seven stress-busting strategies for building resilience, and one of these is Balanced Nutrition. We're pleased to tell you about two programs that help increase access to balanced nutrition in our County: CalFresh, and Market Match.
The CalFresh program offers low-income households a monthly benefit to buy food. Benefits are delivered on a card that looks and works like an ATM card at the supermarket checkout. You can also use your benefits at most convenience stores, and some farmers markets. You can complete the initial application in minutes at GetCalFresh.org.
CalFresh helps reduce hunger and food insecurity (a problem for 16% of County residents including 20% of children), reduce poverty (reducing California's child poverty rate by 4 percentage points), and benefit the local economy (generating $1.79 in economic activity for every dollar of CalFresh benefits). Eligibility rules and benefit amounts can change due to circumstances such as the pandemic, so even if you applied a few years ago and didn't quite qualify (or didn't qualify for much), it's worth applying again.
The Market Match program can double your CalFresh dollars at participating Farmers Markets (up to a daily limit), so you can get more fresh fruits and vegetables. Just go to the market manager's booth and swipe your EBT card, and you'll get double the value in Market Match tokens to spend at the market. All South County farmers markets and some Mid County farmers markets accept the CalFresh EBT card and participate in the Market Match program. Find a participating market at https://bit.ly/SBCFM.
Studies find that fresh, organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables like you get at the farmer's market taste better, are more nutritious, and provide more benefit to the local economy than typical supermarket produce. But they can be more expensive, and CalFresh participants are on a tight food budget, so Market Match knocks down that cost barrier.