LA CARE HEALTH PLAN ACTIVELY CARES ABOUT IMPROVING FOOD INSECURITY
LA Care Health Plan recently awarded Help Me Help You with a CalFresh Outreach Grant to benefit low-income and uninsured residents in Los Angeles. The grant is being used to encourage CalFresh enrollments so residents can receive monthly dollars to purchase groceries at participating stores and farmers markets.
With an on-going environment of inflation driving more residents into homelessness and escalating levels of food insecurity, basic survival for many is a challenge. According to a December 2022 study by USC Dornsife, L.A. County has higher rates of food insecurity than other areas. From 2019 to 2022 average rates of food insecurity for the nation and California remained around 11%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. National and statewide data for this year aren’t yet available but as inflation continues, food insecurity continues to rise. Many families are experiencing food insecurity for the first time. They either miss meals to feed children or to pay bills.
“Since everything has gone up, for the first time ever, I suffered from food insecurity. I missed many meals and cut down on the quality of food to ensure my kids can eat”, said Kyle- working mother and Long Beach resident.
Fortunately, CalFresh provides low-income individuals and families with monthly dollars, via an EBT card, to purchase fresh and packaged groceries from participating stores (including Albertsons, Vons, Walmart, Aldi, Amazon, and farmer's markets), as well as seeds/plants to grow your own food at home. Some participating stores also offer free home delivery. Seniors (60 years and over), the homeless, and the disabled also have the option to use their CalFresh EBT card to purchase hot or prepared food from participating restaurants. CalFresh recipients also receive other free services and discounts. CalFresh is available to citizens and legal immigrant Californian residents. As of December 2022, CalFresh is not part of the Public Charge test and will NOT affect immigration status. Undocumented immigrants are usually not eligible; however, they can apply for their children who are legal residents or U.S. citizens.
According to state estimates, about 4.8 million Californians (1 in 8) receive monthly CalFresh benefits; and about 6.5 million are eligible (California Department of Social Services 2022). It is estimated that at least 1.7 million are eligible but are not accessing this service. Help Me Help You offers free CalFresh enrollment assistance and the LA Care Health Plan – CalFresh Outreach Grant will fund 80% of this service to increase awareness and enroll more clients to access food for free.
"Our partnership with LA Care Health Plan has helped ensure our ability to continue this vital CalFresh enrollment service, particularly during this time when so many are in need", said Zina Washington, Help Me Help You Executive Director
LA Care Health Plan is a local Initiative Health Authority and public agency for Los Angeles County that provides health insurance for low-income individuals in Los Angeles County through health coverage programs including Medi-Cal. They also provide a community center that provides free resources for low-come and homeless residents.
Help Me Help You serves over 53,000 Long Beach, CA residents in-need with free groceries (via 11 Grocery Grab N Go locations) and free enrollment for essential community services including CalFresh, MediCal, General Relief, referrals to housing, and more. These services are life-changing and often lifesaving. To check your eligibility and enroll in CalFresh contact our office on (562) 612-5001 or visit: www.helpmehelpu.org/calfresh