Pending CalFresh Cuts Likely to Strain Food Bank
This article was originally published by the Calexico Chronicle on July 2, 2022 and can be read here.
IMPERIAL – The Imperial Valley Food Bank is anticipating an influx of local residents in need of monthly food assistance as a result of pending cuts to CalFresh benefits.
Local food-insecure families enrolled in the CalFresh program will soon see a cut in their benefits following the nationwide end of pandemic-related emergency allotments on March 26.
Combined with the increased rate of inflation, the pending cuts in CalFresh benefits are expected to force many households across the country to seek help from many food banks and pantries, a press release from the IV Food Bank stated.
Because of current inflation rates, the local food bank has observed a similar amount of people seeking food assistance this year as it had during the pandemic, said Sara Griffen, IV Food Bank executive director.
“With less food donations coming in and more people needing support, these benefit cuts have come at a very difficult time,” Griffen said in a written statement.
Those who are interested in assisting the Imperial Valley Food Bank’s efforts are asked to consider donating online at www.ivfoodbank.com
The IV Food Bank helps 25,000 residents with food assistance across the county. Yet not all qualify for CalFresh.
The county Department of Social Services assists over 46,000 local residents enrolled in the CalFresh program.
“Due to the need of our residents, we are appreciative of the efforts made by local nonprofits and community-based organizations to improve the quality of life for all those that call Imperial County home,” said Gil Rebollar, county public information officer, in a written statement.
Starting March 26, households participating in the CalFresh programs can expect to receive at least $95 less per month, or up to $258 less, depending on their income levels, the IV Food Bank stated in a press release.
More than 41 million people across America will be affected by the pending cuts, according to the California Association of Food Banks.
In response to COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services authorized emergency allotments to its Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), administered in California as the CalFresh program.
The emergency allotments kept 4.2 million people nationwide out of poverty in the last quarter of 2021, the Association of California Food Banks reported.
CalFresh benefits also help boost consumer spending in local grocery stores that represents a statewide $900 million loss in economic activity per month, the association added.