Food Banks in the Tri-Countries are “bracing” themselves for extra demand
A Federally-funded program which provides monthly food benefits to low-income individuals and families is set to end this month.
CalFresh benefits were extended during the pandemic but those extra payments are set to end this month.
"We knew it was going to end but when the day actually comes, that's when we start seeing the line grow outside the doors of our pantry," said Monica White, President & CEO of Food Share in Ventura.
White said the end of the benefit will hit many hard, as it comes at a time when high inflation means that wages aren’t keeping pace with rising grocery prices.
“There’s no question that this is going to really hit people hard at a time when many are already struggling. We’re bracing for an influx of people," she said.
White continued, "The biggest impact is likely to be to low-income seniors qualifying for the minimum benefit under standard income guidelines. We’re seeing estimates that their monthly CalFresh benefits could drop from $281 to only $23. These cuts really couldn’t have hit at a worse time.”
White explained that inflationary costs are also hitting food banks like Food Share, putting them under increasing pressure to raise more money to meet the increased demand for food that’s now considerably higher in price than it was 18 months ago.
As of December 2022, more than 41,889 households and 75,163 people currently receive CalFresh benefits in Ventura County, including 27,800 children under 18 and 10,800 adults aged 60 and over, per data from the California Department of Social Services.
Information on where to find food, how to volunteer, and how you can support Food Share with a monetary donation is at www.foodshare.com