Final Budget Agreement Preserves Modest Investments in Food Assistance

Published on Jun 24, 2024 in Adults, CalFresh, Child Nutrition, Immigrants, Older Adults, School-Aged Children, Young Children

Equitable, Sustainable Funding Still Needed to Address High Rates of Food Insecurity

On Saturday, June 22, Governor Newsom and the Legislature announced a final agreement on the 2024-25 State Budget. Despite a significant funding shortfall next fiscal year, the budget includes limited but critical investments needed to address the high level of hunger, poverty, and inequity faced by Californians with low and moderate income. We applaud the Legislature and Administration for finding solutions that largely protect the safety net from major cuts.

Your support and advocacy made the difference. Thank you. 

We must also remind state leaders that it is in such times of fiscal difficulty and economic hardship that we must invest in programs and services that foster equity and make California a state where all can thrive. Families continue to struggle to put food on the table, older adults need more support to age with dignity, and kids and college students need adequate resources to learn, grow and thrive to reach their full potential.  We again thank the Legislature and the Newsom Administration for working to prevent harmful cuts and look forward to continuing to work together to implement new policies and solutions that will mitigate the alarming, persistent rates of hunger and hardship across our state.

Below are a number of highlights from the final 2024-25 budget package. with respect to food and nutrition.

Food and Nutrition 

Food4All/CFAP Expansion – Automation to Continue, Implementation Delayed to October 2027

Last year’s state budget included a planned implementation date for the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) expansion to income-eligible Californians aged 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, of October 2025. The Governor’s May Revision proposed to delay implementation until 2027 — a two year delay from what was anticipated. 

The final budget deal proposes to reallocate unused funding for planning and automation activities from 2023-24 to 2024-25 and ongoing. It also requires the Department of Social Services to provide a report to the Legislature and Department of Finance no later than January 1, 2025, describing how automation funding has been used to date and outlining the plan for spending in 2024-25 and beyond. 

Nourish California is pleased that the Legislature and Administration will continue to move toward implementing the CFAP expansion. However, this delay and lack of new investments stalls California’s progress toward an inclusive and equitable food safety net, and fails to address urgent food insecurity among immigrant communities across the state. Read the full statement from the Food4All coalition here.

We will continue to work with our legislative champions, the Legislature, and the Governor’s office to get the implementation timeline back on track to ensure access to CFAP benefits for Californians of all ages, regardless of immigration status, begins as soon as possible. 

Take Action: Join the Food4All Campaign to expand food benefits to Californians of all ages, regardless of immigration status. No exceptions. No exclusions. No delays.

Emergency Food

The final budget approves trailer bill language to permanently authorize the state Emergency Food Bank Reserve. It also approves $9 million for expansion to 11 food and diaper distribution sites for diaper and wipe distribution for low-income families with infants or toddlers. 

Nourish California and our partners call on the Governor and Legislature to provide adequate ongoing funding to address the ongoing elevated need across the state. For more information, see the California Association of Food Banks’ budget statement. 

School Meals and SUN Bucks 

The final budget continues to invest in students’ access to breakfast and lunch — free of charge — each school day. 

We applaud the Legislature and Administration for this commitment to the health, well being, and learning of all kids in California public schools. We urge the Governor and the Legislature to permanently guarantee that funding for meal reimbursements remains secure, sustainable, and sufficient. We also call on state budget leaders to ensure schools have the necessary resources and capacity to reach all students with nutritious, appealing, culturally appropriate meals.

The proposed budget also includes full funding for administrative costs to operate Summer EBT, or SUN Bucks, in 2024 and 2025. We applaud the commitment to children’s well-being reflected in this investment, ensuring the successful implementation of the SUN Bucks program in 2024 and providing essential food resources to 5.3 million eligible children during the summer months. We will continue to advocate with our partners to ensure timely implementation of SUN Bucks this summer and beyond.

Take Action: Join the Campaign to Ensure Healthy Meals for Every Kid Every Day

CalFresh Minimum Benefit Pilot

The final budget rejects the Governor’s proposal to cancel the CalFresh Minimum Nutrition Benefit Pilot, which will ensure participating households receive no less than $50 per month in CalFresh benefits. We applaud the Legislature for restoring funding to this vital pilot program. Nourish California, the California Association of food Banks, GRACE/End Child Poverty in CA, and Hunger Action Los Angeles thank Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 Chair Menjivar and state budget leaders for their leadership on this and other important anti-hunger and anti-poverty investments.

CalFresh Fruit & Vegetable EBT Pilot

Happily, the 2024-25 budget includes $10 million in funding to continue to operate the CalFresh Fruit & Vegetable EBT Pilot. This extremely successful project was prematurely paused in April 2024 because it was so popular that the funding that was previously allocated ran out too early. That means participants saw a cut of $50 – $60 per month in their already inadequate CalFresh benefit allotments. 

Nourish California and our cosponsors Fullwell, extend our deep gratitude to state budget leaders, particularly Senate Scott Wiener, for continuing to champion this innovative and phenomenally successful program. We look forward to working with CDSS to restart the program and continue to plan for its expansion and long-term sustainability.

CalFresh Safe Drinking Water Pilot

AB 161, the Human Services Omnibus trailer bill, includes  language that would effectively extend this successful pilot through March 2026, or until allocated funding expires.. This means 3,000 households in Kern County that do not have potable water will continue to receive an additional $50 per month in CalFresh to help defray the extra cost of drinking water. We applaud the Legislature and Governor for agreeing to this extension and look forward to working with partners and state leaders to explore opportunities to expand and improve the pilot.

California Nutrition Incentive Program

The final agreement restores $33.2 million to the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP). The funding supports “Market Match” and other successful programs that provide matching funds to CalFresh shoppers at local farmers’ markets. We applaud the full funding CNIP as provided in the 2024-25 budget.

There are no other proposed investments in CalFresh despite the rising rates of hunger and inadequate CalFresh benefit allotments. Join us in calling on the Governor and Legislature to enact bold changes and long-term investments to close eligibility gaps, make CalFresh easier to enroll in and ensure benefit amounts adequate to last through the month.

Take Action: Join the Campaign to Boost CalFresh Benefits by extending successful supplemental benefit programs.

Early Care Nutrition

The final budget does not include additional funding for an equitable state meal reimbursement in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). We are disappointed that once again Family Child Care providers will continue to be shortchanged by the state for serving healthy meals to kids in their care. Nourish California and the Child Care Food Roundtable will continue our efforts to enact an equitable state meal reimbursement for CACFP. We invite you to join us.

Take Action: Join the Food with Care 2024 Campaign to ensure healthy meals for our youngest learners and full reimbursement for child care providers. 

Immigrant Supports

The final budget maintains funding levels to expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to all income-eligible adults. Nourish California and our partners in the immigrant rights space are very pleased that the Governor kept his commitment to expanding health care access to all immigrants. 

Safety Net and Income Support 

Stay tuned for our upcoming analysis of the 2024-25 budget with respect to the broader social safety net.

How Can I Help?

The state budget reflects our collective values and priorities. Your advocacy can shape the state budget. Join our campaign actions and stay up to date by visiting our action center: 

For more information, contact Jared Call at 


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