The Nominations for the 2023 Freshy Awards

Published on Feb 8, 2023

Here is the full, unedited nominating text for each of the nominees up for a 2023 Freshy Award.  The winners will be announced on February 16, 2023, at the CalFresh Forum.  Join us for the celebration!

2023 Freshy Award Nominees

First Category

Public Servant - Local

The nominees for best performance to improve CalFresh by a government employee at the local level.

Betty Crocker, Redlands Unified School District Child Nutrition Services

"Dr. Betty Crocker has long been an advocate for nourishing children, addressing food/nutrition insecurity, and supporting others to do the same. As the Child Nutrition Service Director of Redlands Unified School District, Dr. Crocker and her team have excelled in feeding over 20,000 children in her District bringing nutritious meals. This has included breakfasts/2nd chance breakfasts and lunches incorporating locally grown foods as well as afterschool, weekend, and summer meals, and food distributions. Furthermore, Dr. Crocker is a summer meal advocate, expanding reach to community sites (e.g libraries, parks, community centers). Due to Dr. Crocker's tenacity and perseverance, 100% of the schools in the district have been Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) eligible for a number of years. Thus, during COVID-19 distance learning, all Redlands USD students in the district received Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)/Summer EBT benefits. Dr. Crocker has been a positive influence and leader to the other 32 school districts in San Bernardino County serving as co-chair to the County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP) School Meals Access Collaborative for 4+ years. In 2022, Dr. Crocker worked with the Transitional Assistance Department (TAD)/CalFresh Office assisting in planning and promoting CalFresh outreach in schools by influencing San Bernardino County school districts to place a CalFresh link with the BenefitsCal information and application on their websites. Dr. Betty Crocker presented on the topic of the "Importance of CalFresh Outreach for Students & Schools" during the "Good for Students, Good for Schools: How CalFresh Promotion Will Move Districts Forward" webinar and shared the Redlands USD website that includes a CalFresh (BenefitsCal) and Pandemic EBT link. Through a CalFresh Challenge promoted by Dr. Crocker, school districts added the CalFresh link to their school websites, and subsequently the percent of school districts in San Bernardino County with the link increased from 5 (15%) to 25 (75%) of the 33 districts."

Rick Wanne, County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency, Self-Sufficiency Services

"Under Rick Wanne’s leadership, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA)-Self-Sufficiency Services, supported an innovative text messaging pilot program to ensure San Diego County CalFresh recipients receive information about the health and other benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and how to properly select, store, and prepare produce. Each message, which is sent in English, Spanish and Arabic, includes a link to a website ( in the same languages offering more in-depth information, including recipes. To our knowledge, this represents the first time a CalFresh (or SNAP) agency anywhere in the U.S. has sent messages promoting improved diet and nutrition to program participants. The County of San Diego HHSA partnered with UC San Diego ACTRI Center for Community Health housed under the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Nutrition Policy Institute, which is housed in the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to support the implementation of the pilot text-messaging program. The original pilot was scheduled for 6 months; however, based on positive feedback from participants, HHSA has agreed to continue offering this program indefinitely. They have sent monthly messages to over 170,000 CalFresh participants throughout San Diego County. This in-kind support is estimated at a value of $80,600. Nearly 90% of CalFresh participants responding to a survey expressed appreciation for these texts. "It is very important for us to eat healthy, to teach our children to eat healthy," wrote one participant. "I love the recipes…they’re so delicious and easy to make…I’m very, very grateful for the help because without you guys, I would be struggling more and I just want a better life for my children." Furthermore, the Self-Sufficiency Services department enabled the ACTRI Center for Community Health to reach out directly to San Diego CalFresh recipients via text messages regarding the opportunity to enroll in the ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Nutrition Incentive Program ( to receive up to $100 a month for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. This outreach resulted in the enrollment of over 4,000 San Diego CalFresh recipients into the ¡Más Fresco! Program, more than doubling ¡Más Fresco! program participation across San Diego County."

Roobina Gerami, Los Angeles County, Department of Public Social Services

"Roobina Gerami is the current CalFresh Program Director for the Los Angeles County, Department of Public Social Services. She has held this position for over two years. Prior to this assignment, Ms. Gerami worked as a CalFresh policy manager for over 10 years. Ms. Gerami has led countless CalFresh policy efforts in Los Angeles County and is extremely instrumental in providing feedback in shaping CalFresh state policy. Ms. Gerami’s most recent work includes reducing food insecurity among college students by increasing CalFresh participation. Through Ms. Gerami’s leadership, college students’ participation in the CalFresh program in Los Angeles County grew by 24% countywide in FY 21-22. Ms. Gerami led the following efforts which attributed to this notable increase: • Worked with the Los Angeles Community Colleges and Universities to reach out to students who are food insecure. This included, implementing a first-of-its-kind data sharing project with Compton Community College. Compton College has a student body of approximately 11,510, of which 82% are receiving financial aid.  Ms. Gerami’s team has worked with Compton College to execute a data-sharing agreement to identify students who are receiving CalFresh or potentially eligible to CalFresh. After getting student consent, Compton College provides Ms. Gerami’s team with student data to be matched with the Department’s caseload records. This match identifies CalFresh utilization among participating students. The results of this match are used by both Los Angeles County and Compton College to initiate targeted CalFresh outreach to these students.  The data match is conducted twice a year as it follows the two major student enrollments cycles for Compton College. As a result of this partnership, there was a 15.38% % increase in CalFresh participation among eligible students enrolled at Compton College in the pilot’s first year. • Worked with Media to promote CalFresh to all Los Angeles County residents including college students. • Worked with community-based and faith-based organizations to bring awareness of CalFresh to college students and the expansion of the student eligibility requirements. To date, Ms. Gerami’s team has recruited over 145 organizations to become CalFresh Application Assisters. These assisters bring awareness of the CalFresh Program to their communities. • Worked with the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to reach out to all students with information on CalFresh Program and how to apply for it. Ms. Gerami continues to strive and thrive!"

Next Category

Public Servant - State

The nominees for best performance to improve CalFresh by a government employee at the state level.

Hares Rahimzei, CDSS

"Coordination of the P-EBT 1.0, 2.0., 3.0, and 4.0."

Kat Yang, CDSS

"Kat exemplifies partnership and collaboration when it comes to CalFresh! We appreciate all the ways in which she led the CalFresh program over the last year, especially through the pandemic, ensuring that California maximized Emergency Allotments (half a billion dollars a month!) and other administrative flexibilities that simplified the program for applicants and eligibility workers alike."

Next Category

Statewide Advocate

The nominees for best performance to improve CalFresh by an advocate with statewide reach.

Itzúl Gutierrez, California Association of Food Banks

"Over the past year, Itzúl has consistently led California advocates on many Federal opportunities for advocacy related to SNAP - especially with Farm Bill negotiations on the horizon. Thanks to her constant communication and advocacy with the California Congressional delegation, and sharing opportunities for Federal advocacy with anti-hunger advocates in California, we have dozens of co-sponsors on several SNAP marker bills like H.R. 1919 by Rep Gomez that would eliminate the college student role, and H.R. 1753 by Rep. Lee that would eliminate the ABAWD rule. Itzúl also led a lot of work to inform the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and supported a young college student in attending the conference in-person. At the beginning of the year, she was also critical in helping to secure a policy solution to allowing Ukrainians with Humanitarian Parole to access critical benefits like SNAP."

Becky Silva, California Association of Food Banks

"Becky Silva, Director of Government Relations at the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) has made an immense impact protecting clients and elevating access to CalFresh Food. She advocates for the SSI community as a member of the CA4SSI coalition and leads the CalFresh Advocacy monthly calls, which offer a space for all California advocates, assistors, and the legal aid community to work together to strengthen the CalFresh program. She continues to lead advocacy efforts for policy changes to help people applying for and using CalFresh benefits, especially SSI recipients and college students. These efforts include working with the California Department of Social Services, the Center for Healthy Communities, and Higher Ed Segments to improve access to CalFresh for college students through policy and advocacy. Becky co-authored CalFresh for College Students: Equitable and Just Access with Higher Ed leaders and advocates, laying out past success and important future changes to create equitable access. Becky also helped advocate for AB 1965, which would have established the CARET program to ensure that CalFresh recipients with ABAWD status do not lose vital food benefits. She currently leads CAFB‘s work in requesting California maximize federal emergency allotments as long as possible and providing a ramp-down for when the public health emergency ends to avoid a hunger cliff. Along with working diligently on the EBT card skimming crisis, she has led the creation of a letter for the California legislator calling on CA Congressional delegation to take immediate action to protect CalFresh recipients from having their benefits stolen. Her impact, insight, and dedication continue in 2023 to ensure everyone in California have equitable access to CalFresh Food."

Jenn Tracy, California Association of Food Banks

"Jenn is the lead facilitator and advocate in the CalSAWS Advocate's group, where she works diligently every day to improve the CalFresh application and benefits experience through California's new technology platforms. Her approach in centering the experiences and voices of people with lived experience is at the heart of her work, and her persistence has led to many tangible improvements in the BenefitsCal and CalSAWS systems that touch the lives of millions of people." "Jenn has tirelessly kept advocates informed and at the table throughout the CalSAWS conversion process. She organizes the advocates, lifts up access issues, and has engaged in the process at every available level. Jenn also continues to find new ways to work with CalSAWS as we all work toward an equitable and accessible statewide system."

Next Category

College Student Advocate

The nominees for best performance to improve CalFresh for college students.

Keliana Rios, The Basic Needs Center, UC San Diego

"It is with utmost pure food justice excitement from the depths of my food security work soul to nominate Keliana Rios for the 2023 Freshy Awards. As the Director of Basic Needs at UC San Diego, I have worked alongside Keliana for 5 years in food security access support for college students in which the most recent 2 years Keliana has been working to build out our CalFresh Outreach Program that we operate out of the Basic Needs Center. In the capacities of innovative outreach strategies to increase CalFresh participation she was a college student who worked as a student in food security program development that transpired her becoming our first student to professional staff to lead the CalFresh Outreach student team. Among a tiger team of student advocates they dove into conversations with community centers and our partnership with the San Diego County Health and Human Services workers to bring CalFresh mobile units "Live Well on Wheels" to the campus for the first time beyond typical enrollment clinics. She has paved the way for seamless outreach support among virtual and in-person virtual walk in hours systems for students to meet with CalFresh Outreach Assistant team members in safe spaces they identify with. She makes CalFresh FUN! Her heart bleeds through CalFresh outreach campaigns that included participating in creating Powtoons (digital cartoon info videos) and CalFresh materials that are digestible for students to engage with. When folx in higher education talk about being "student centered" she puts it into practice with her outreach efforts with CalFresh whether that is through social media, enfolding the latest tech references or platforms (because she is also an avid gamer!), and not for one minute skipping a beat on being full present for students who engage with the outreach outlets to share very vulnerable narratives. Her organizational skills have continued to work through a student team for evolving the program from a student informed perspective. She is a Consensus Organizer at the core building sustainable partnership through reciprocity. On the note of Outstanding Commitment to Advancing Equity in CalFresh she fully has infused in her trainings and leading by example how to engage with communities through an intersected identity approach. Honoring, advocating, and elevating student narratives shared with her or working along side students and eligibility workers on some of the toughest CalFresh case examples. Students feel safe because she leads through inclusive language, a patient ear, and at the same time ability to pivot to administrative staff circles to advocate and lift the voices of student who have faced the most marginalized situations. She is about ACTION with COMPASSION. We have been beyond lucky to have Keliana's leadership from UC San Diego student leader to professional staff journey to evolve our CalFresh Outreach Program, let alone during a pandemic time when the policy was shifting frequently to provide timely support to students facing financial distress. She is a LEADER through and through with her journey just beginning. The world of CalFresh needs more Keliana's leading the way for igniting change through dignity, respect, and deep compassion for the human experience!"

Angelica Profumo, Cerritos College, Norwalk CA

"I am honored to nominate Cerritos College CalFresh Project Coordinator, Angelica Profumo, for her Innovative Outreach Strategies to increase CalFresh Participation. Angelica passionately works to share the benefits of CalFresh food support with Cerritos College students. As a creative thinker and organizer, Angelica plans student-oriented outreach events and opportunities to increase awareness. She has executed partnerships with faculty and staff, making the program more accessible and visible on campus. As a self-starting leader, Angelica crafted a monthly virtual drop in space for community college CalFresh Coordinators in the state. In learning from other coordinators, she has provided a no-risk opportunity for staff to meet and share best practices and challenges. In December 2022, Angelica spoke at the Community College Basic Needs Summit sharing the importance of partnerships in CalFresh Outreach. In Spring 2023, Angelica plans to ride their newly purchased mobile outreach bike around campus reaching students whose classes rarely take them by the Basic Needs office. The bike is outfitted with baskets for produce and other pantry items and she will share CalFresh with students’ campus wide. I highly recommend Angelica Profumo for this award."

Jessica Vera, Cal State LA Calfresh Outreach Center

"This coordinator has helped tremendously the Cal State LA community in bringing awareness to food insecurity with fun and engaging events all year long, increasing the amount of students who want to know more or even apply for benefits. They have also helped in approving student exception programs with the help of calfresh interns."

Next Category

Regional Advocate

The nominees for best performance to improve CalFresh by a regional advocate.

Candi Thornton, Arsolas

"Because she has worked tirelessly for over two decades helping people no one else will help. She is organized and makes every effort to help all in need. Cal fresh has become a readily accessible program thanks to her efforts in the greater bay area. With her groundbreaking methods to help people in re-entry she has been able to navigate both processes while also remaining a congenial motherly figure to the larger community she serves."

Emma Burke, Alchemist Community Development Corporation (Alchemist CDC)

"Emma Burke has worked with Alchemist since 2017 as the CalFresh at Farmers's Markets Program Manager. In this role, Emma has taken the lead in ensuring that CalFresh access and Market Match incentives are available and effectively put to work at many Sacramento-region farmers' markets. In her first year doing this work, Alchemist facilitated $173,043 in CalFresh and $81,273 in Market Match at local markets. This mirrored the previous year. In the first 11 months of 2022, after five years of her leadership, Alchemist has facilitated $630,545 in CalFresh and $393,657 in Market Match. That represents 264% growth in CalFresh and 384% growth in Market Match usage. This growth has been impacted by Emma's outreach to farmers' market vendors recruiting more of them to accept CalFresh; improvement in market staffing by moving CalFresh associates from unpaid internship to paid part-time roles; consistent delivery of efficient and dignified service at the farmers' markets; fundraising to grow and maintain this program; and a strong volunteer training and retention program to bring in assistance with CalFresh usage as it has grown. This year, Emma facilitated direct services at 9 markets in Sacramento County, and in her tenure has directly implemented CalFresh services at 14 markets and provided program support for 22 sites in Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer Counties. This support includes training market staff, sharing best practices and resources, and sub-contracting Market Match Incentives to approved sites including both farmers markets and farm stands. Over the years, she has provided guidance and worked with many local farmers markets, even if not contractually required to do so, and through this practice she has established strong relationships in our community and is seen as a resource for those doing the challenging work of connecting food-insecure households with our farming community. Emma has also overseen Alchemist's work of helping local residents determine CalFresh eligibility and to complete their CalFresh application. As Alchemist pursued a new collaborative opportunity with local organizations Paratransit and Meals on Wheels by ACC, Emma took the lead on Alchemist's portion of the proposal for USDA grant consideration. The grant was awarded this fall and will enable these organizations to partner to provide a direct shuttle for older adults and adults with disabilities from a low-income neighborhood suffering from food apartheid to a very affordable farmers' market. The program participants will receive a weekly $20 grocery voucher for two years in addition to their free ride to and from the market, and will become acquainted with the CalFresh and Market Match program at the farmers' market in the hope of continued use when the voucher program ends. To our knowledge, this is a unique and novel pilot project connecting transit with CalFresh at farmers' markets that we hope will become a model for broader adoption. Emma was an active participant in Sacramento County's 2019 process developing the county Environmental Justice Element and helped ensure that CalFresh and CalFresh access at farmers' markets was included among other food access issues. This focus on local food system needs prompted the creation of 2022's Senate Bill 907: Local Equitable Affordable Food (LEAF). Alchemist CDC initiated and co-sponsored SB 907 in order to establish funding for high-quality CalFresh/EBT access at every Certified Farmers Market and every farmers' market on sovereign Tribal territory in the state of California. Emma's experience and knowledge heavily shaped the bill and her relationships with others working in the CalFresh space across the state allowed us to incorporate feedback and ideas from others early on. She was present in meeting after meeting with various state agencies, legislative staffers, and others advocating for this policy and explaining the importance of CalFresh access at farmers' markets. SB907 was signed into law in September 2022 and Emma is now involved in advocating for its inclusion in the 2023-24 state budget for implementation. Emma has rightfully emerged as a leader and expert in the importance of connecting CalFresh to farmers' markets in Sacramento and throughout the State."

Farah Mohamed, Smile America Abdi Foundation

"Mr. Mohamed continues her brother's work. Mr. Abdi, who is the organization, is name after was killed in 2018. Abdi, dream was and still in to eliminate hunger in poor and underserved communities. By feeding homeless, seniors, school age children in City of Rialto, CA. Abdi's sister Ms. Mohamed local business, nonprofits and churches work together. Ms. Mohamed feeds homeless, seniors and single mothers every Tuesdays and Fridays since 2012. In our city of Rialto, CA. Ms. Mohamed is a teacher during the day. Her weekends, evenings, and holidays are spent caring for those that are forgotten. Ms. Mohamed and her volunteers do not get paid or seek for financial. This nomination will continue to motivate and appreciate their work. Abdi Foundation in Rialto is the most selfless organization that collaborates, advocate, mentors and feeds more forgotten population of Rialto. It is my honor to nominate Ms. Mohamed and Abdi Foundation for Nourish California. Thank You!"

Margaret Carson, 54th Street SDA Church Community Services

"Margaret Carson is a phenomenal woman who has a huge heart for her community. She organizes a weekly shower program, entitled Showers of Blessings, which takes place every Tuesday, from 9 am until 1 pm, at the Fifty-Fourth Street Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles. Here those in need are provided with free showers, toiletries, clean clothes, free hair cuts and lunch. Then on Wednesdays, she manages a Community Service Food program, where fresh fruits & vegetables, food, drinks and other household necessities are distributed to families. This past Thanksgiving of 2022, She not only handed out food and turkeys a week prior to Thanksgiving, but on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 24, she served a Free, delicious Thanksgivings Day Meal to all who were in need and had no where to go on that day. Many individuals and families were blessed and fed. She and her team of volunteers, work tirelessly and consistently to ensure that the community in need is provided for. I cannot thank her enough for the love, long hours and dedication that she shows for others. And I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Margaret Carson, to be honored with this award and recognition. Thank you!"

Natalie Caples, Central California Food Bank

"Natalie is one of the two amazing co-CEO's here at the Central California Food Bank. Natalie is an admirable person that continues to advocate for CalFresh Program, she continues to apply her passionate advocacy work and utilizing her platform to strengthen the program."

Nora Zaragoza, Education and Leadership Foundation

"I nominate Ms. Nora Zaragoza because she has been a key figure in the Central Valley to help individuals apply for public benefits. She has extensive knowledge in Immigration, Public Health, and Public Policy and is able to convey legislation in such a manner where community members are able to fully understand. She's a force of nature when it comes to Public Charge and public benefits outreach. After the Trump administration left, she amplified her organization's outreach to make sure individuals and/or their family members who were eligible to receive public benefits, had equitable access to apply and receive said benefits. She currently serves on many advisory councils and coalitions that collaborate and push for all of the aforementioned. She also holds webinars and parent advocacy sessions in the Central Valley to educate parents and their families regarding the services they're able to apply for, regardless of immigration status."

Sam Greenlee, Alchemist CDC

"Sam has worked tirelessly over the last year to advocate for CalFresh access at every certified farmers market in California. Despite this being an often overlooked aspect of our local food systems, he knows the importance of buying locally grown foods and of ensuring that all food is equally accessible in every place that it is sold. Sam has formed calculated relationships and partnerships to build a state policy around this work, has built a broad coalition from the ground up, routinely welcomed feedback to increase transparency and representation, and demonstrated true leadership in this space despite scarce experience in legislative work. Sam's "behind the scenes" work has been inspiring to say the least, and we are grateful for his dedication to the CalFresh community."

The San Diego Hunger Coalition

"We are proud to nominate the San Diego Hunger Coalition (SDHC) for a Freshy Award as they have made some of the greatest impacts in California when it comes to Calfresh outreach in schools. SDHC began their work by providing a webinar and toolkit for over 28 school districts, teaching Calfresh outreach methods for families of school age children. By writing an effective program and engaging community promotoras and other stakeholders, the SDHC was able to enroll over 136 kids at two districts alone with an impact of over $62,000 Calfresh benefits disbursed. Their work has not only increased Calfresh enrollment at their intervention sites but has enabled many of these schools to adopt Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which is a program that allows schools to serve meals to all students with greater ease and more easily qualifies them to serve summer meals. SDHC’s work has also resulted in increased access to P-EBT cards during summer time, not just for the children enrolled in Calfresh, but for EVERY child enrolled at a school that was able to elect CEP, resulting in over $866,000 PEBT benefits provided for these children. SDHC’s work has pioneered many best practices for increasing Calfresh enrollment for children that will no doubt be replicated in the years to come. Their work has had ripple effects reaching far beyond Calfresh and to other nutrition programs, increasing all around access to meals and reducing food insecurity for children and their families."

Shelby Wild-Brown, Route One Farmer's Market

"I am nominating Shelby Wild-Brown for her unending determination to implement Santa Barbara County's first ever mobile farmers market. Shelby is the founder and manager of a local non-profit named Route One Farmer's Market, which is the only market within a 67-mile stretch between San Luis Obispo and Solvang to accept EBT and Market Match. It opened in 2019 with a location in Vandenburg Village. Understanding the market location was a barrier for some to access, she had a dream and vision to include a mobile farmers market to her business plan as a means to reach people (especially targeting underserved and under resourced community members) where they are in the community. Shelby applied for and received numerous grants to purchase the mobile truck, which was built in Canada and was scheduled to ship to California before the COVID pandemic hit. After many set backs along the way, the mobile market finally passed all inspections and was given the green light to begin on November 26, 2022. Currently, the roving truck of fresh produce for sale parks at the Lompoc Health Care Center, twice weekly. Shelby is confident the mobile market will reach its target audience as it expands its reach into additional locations throughout the community. Like the market, the truck accepts payment in the form of EBT, WIC, and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition checks, putting nutritious foods into the kitchens of the underserved."

Next Category

Outreach Worker of the Year

The nominees for best performance to expand the reach of CalFresh.

Ada Lai, San Francisco Marin Food Bank

"Ada's provided great Calfresh training and support for food pantries."

Alexandra Danino, San Francisco Marin Food Bank

"Alexandra brings her positive attitude, passion and expertise for the work she does; she knows how to explain CalFresh program and its policy clearly. She easily develops and forsters better relationships with future partners, clients, and staff. She's always available to participate and to provide support to community events. Alexandra make sure that the rest of the staff feel included and have a voice. Alexandra is a true leader."

Alma Ceja, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano

"Alma started working for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano in 2020 as a temporary Sanitation Associate. Through the pandemic Alma worked tirelessly to ensure everything was clean and sanitized to avoid the spread of COVID. Prior to Alma we had gone through a couple of Sanitation Associates, it was clear to all of us that Alma was special, she had a great work ethic and a servant heart. In 2021 Alma became our permanent Sanitation Associate continuing her work to help us fight COVID, she worked hard! Alma became a friend to many of us and in conversation I learned that Alma did social work in Mexico before she came to the United States. Alma was always interested in the work we did on the CalFresh team, she even referred client to us! Essentially Alma was a CalFreshy before she even knew it. In talking with my manager and director we decided it would be good idea to have Alma join us at a couple of outreach events to explore the CalFresh world! What resulted is Alma joining our CalFresh team in July 2022 and becoming a CalFresh ROCKSTAR! As a native Spanish speaker Alma has focused on serving underserved areas with a large population of Spanish speakers - she has partnered with markets and bakeries, thinking outside of the box and going straight to where the people are . Since her start in July of 2022 Alma has averaged 34 applications per month and so far has helped 73 people get CalFresh benefits, that number continues to rise as determinations slowly come in. It has been a pleasure to train Alma and watch her become the CalFresh ROCKSTAR of the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, we are confident Alma will do big things in the CalFresh world! She is only getting started!"

Brenetta Sadakov, Central California Food Bank

"Brenetta Sadakov, is the CalFresh Outreach Coordinator, for the Central California Food Bank. She has devoted herself to her work and her clients. She’s amazing with partners, staff and clients. I’m appreciative and blessed to have her on the team."

Guillermina Cano, FIND Food Bank

"Guillermina Cano has worked advocating and educating recipients on how to gain access to CalFresh benefits for the past 6 years at FIND Food Bank as an Outreach Coordinator. Guillermina has specialized in working with underserved populations, such as Immigrant or Mixed Immigrant households. Her ability to continually educate herself on public charge and CalFresh qualifications is what makes her valuable asset to our organization and the communities we serve. Guillermina has been able to build trust in the communities she serves which has broaden her reach with referrals, partnerships and overall outreach and education in CalFresh. Guillermina has learned how to advocate for the recipients she serves and simply does not take no for an answer. If a client is not eligible for CalFresh benefits she has an alternative list of resources at ready to provide them with. What makes her incredible at what she does is that she does not only serve the recipient with their most immediate need of applying for CalFresh benefits, but she goes above that to see what other assistance she can provide to improve the recipients wellbeing and ultimately the end goal of self sufficiency. Guillermina exudes what it means to be a servant leader and promotora de salud, and FIND and the community are greatly appreciative of what she does."

Lorena Marroquin, FIND Food Bank

"I am pleased to nominate Lorena Marroquin, FIND Food Bank, for the “Innovative Outreach Strategies to Increase CalFresh Participation” action. Lorena has spearheaded a truly innovative pilot program in a traditionally difficult to engage client base – College students. Lorena has simultaneously successfully launched college pantries at local community colleges – College of the Desert, and its various satellite campuses throughout the desert communities; at the same time piloting a creative SNAP Digital Outreach Program. The SNAP Digital Outreach Program utilizes “life” experiences of a cohort of college students on how to most effectively target college students via social media platforms, websites, etc. Collaborating closely with FIND Food Bank’s Development and Communications department, Lorena has helped build the outreach strategy, social media posts, identify the cohort of college students, formulate flyers for group testing, questionnaires for identified groups, etc. The outcomes have been nothing short of phenomenal. For example, Lorena and the Development/Communications Team quickly learned from the group of college students that the FIND website was not sufficiently user friendly for college students in a few specific ways. For example, too many clicks were required to get through to the CalFresh application page. In addition, Spanish-speaking students found that the Spanish translation button was not easy enough to see/locate. Modifications were immediately made to FIND’s website and more testing was done. Multiple rounds of flyers were also tested and re-tested on a variety of small groups of college students. Flyers were repeatedly refined and modified. For example, college students were presented with 3 sample flyers: one with lots of information; one with a photo of a college student and just a few facts about CalFresh, income qualifications, etc.; and, one with a balance of information, photos, and facts. The college students vastly preferred the simpler photo with few facts over the other options."

Maria Lewis, San Diego Food Bank

"It is with great pleasure that I nominate Maria Lewis for Outstanding Commitment to Advancing Equity in CalFresh. In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Maria demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to advocating for her clients. Maria takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to new and returning clients. She discerns quickly their individual needs and moves efficiently to provide key information, recommendations, or direction. As an example, Maria will always help a client even if there is a language barrier. During a food distribution in Mira Mesa, Maria helped a Vietnamese-speaking individual by using onsite interpreters or if the interpreter were not available, she would use her phone as a translator. Maria’s hard work and dedication to her organization and clients make her the ideal candidate to receive the Outstanding Commitment to Advancing Equity in CalFresh."

Victor Pirul, Wesley Health Centers

"Victor has exceeded his enrollment of 25 enrollees. He continues to enroll and is very passionate about his job, he also enrolls in to medi-cal and MHLA and does Primary Care PC."

Tamesha Edmond, West Oakland Health Center

"I am nominating myself because I know how hard I've worked to get patients enrolled into CalFresh."

You Might Also Find This Interesting...

Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.


Was this resource helpful?

Please consider supporting Nourish California's work.

Your 100% tax-deductible donation is an investment in our research and supports our mission to give California’s critically under-resourced communities the nutrition they desperately need.

Share This