The following comes from a Nov. 26 story in the OC Breeze.
Catholic Charities of California announced today it received a $250,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support CalFresh outreach and enrollment assistance services to low-income Californians. CalFresh is the state’s name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and California currently has one of the lowest participation rates in the nation. About 55% of eligible California residents receives CalFresh benefits, costing the state an estimated $4.7 billion in untapped federal benefit dollars, and an estimated $8.3 billion in local ecoomic activity which would result from those benefits being utilized to purchase food.
The donation will support CalFresh outreach and enrollment assistance activities by 11 local Catholic Charities agencies in over 20 counties throughout the state. Agencies include Cahtolic Charities Diocese of Fresno, Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Catholic Social Service of Solano County (part of Catholic Charities of Sacramento), Catholic Charities of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Catholic Charities Diocese of Santa Rosa, Catholic Charities Diocese of Stockton, Catholic Charities CYO (Archdiocese of San Francisco), Catholic Charities of Orange County, and Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey. Counties include Fresno, Merced, Solano, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Lake, Humboldt, Mendocino, Napa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolomne, San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Orange, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and San Luis Obispo.
Local Catholic Charities staff work in these counties to help California’s most vulnerable populations access CalFresh benefits through various activities including distributing CalFresh materials, pre-screening households for elegibility, assisting households to complete and submit CalFresh applications, conducting follow-up with clients and county eligibility staff to address application issues and advocate for clients, and assisting enrolled participants to complete mandatory reporting to maintain benefits.
“We are thrilled to have the support of the Walmart Foundation for this critical work in counties across California. In the current economic climate, donations and other resources which historically support this work have been drastically reduced — at a time when more and more Californians find themselves struggling financially and at risk for hunger. Local Catholic Charities provide clients with comprehensive professional social services to increase self-sufficiency. Hunger puts families at risk for so many negative outcomes — poor school and work performance, poor health, for a start — it is usually one of the first and most fundamental issues that must be addressed in order to stabilize a household. This gift will make it possible for local Catholic Charities to reach more than 15,000 Californians,” said Shannon Lahey, Executive Director for Catholic Charities of California….