food stamps

Oakland library reaches out to provide CalFresh

Jan 22, 2014

One out of every six residents in Alameda County is served by the Alameda County Community Food Bank. The non-profit agency partners with 275 member agencies to provide almost 50,000 people with food each week. In addition to working with soup kitchens and food pantries, the Food Bank’s Community Outreach Program helps eligible individuals and families apply for nutrition assistance programs, like CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps.

Thomas Hawk

 

For Jamaisse Payne, the grocery store is a math problem. She’s got a baby boy due in a few weeks, so she says she’s shopping and eating for two. She walks up and down the aisles of the Redwood City Grocery Outlet, adding and subtracting prices in her head. 

Alameda County Community Foodbank

Earlier this month, a temporary increase in food stamps—enacted during the financial crisis—expired. More than 47 million people are affected—that’s one in seven Americans. These are the deepest cuts to the federal program since it started back in 1964. It means that a family of three now has 29 dollars less to spend on food every month.

In California, the food stamp program is called Cal-Fresh. And local food banks are seeing first hand what happens when money is cut. Keisha Nzewi, the Advocacy Manager for the Alameda County Community Food Bank  came to the station here at  KALW to talk about the future of food distribution in the Bay Area.

  

As the number of Americans receiving food stamps increases – it has now reached an all time high of more than 21 and a half million households – an ongoing debate over whether the system is working has emerged.

Last fall, over a dozen members of Congress took the “Food Stamp Challenge” to see what it was like to live solely on a food stamp budget for a week. Bay Area representatives Barbara Lee of Oakland and Jackie Speier of San Mateo both participated. Congresswoman Lee had to live on four dollars and fifty cents a day.

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