Boost CalFresh Benefits and Support California Agriculture
CalFresh helps over 4.5 million people put food on the table, but the federally-set benefit levels limit participants' ability to purchase enough food to last through the month. Supplemental benefit programs provide matching dollars tied to the purchase of California-grown vegetables and fruit. These matching programs operate locally across the state to make purchasing food more affordable for Californians with low-income.
Recognizing the potential for supplemental benefit programs to fight hunger and support California agriculture, the state funded the CA Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot in 2018. These innovative pilots will integrate California-grown fruit and vegetable benefits into the CalFresh EBT card, which is widely accepted by food retailers statewide.
Since the pilots were funded, hunger and hardship have spiked across the state, and pandemic-era federal boosts to benefits will expire soon. By leveraging the pilot EBT technology that is ready to launch, the state can provide additional CalFresh benefits to many more households facing poverty and hunger. We can also ensure the pilot reaches diverse regions of the state.
Support AB 2153 to expand the number and geographic diversity of retailers offering supplemental benefits to CalFresh participants.
Provide sufficient funding for this expansion with one-time, multi-year funding in the state budget.