On Wednesday, October 24 the nation will celebrate the second annual Food Day to highlight the movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. The Network for a Healthy California and CalFresh (formerly the food stamp program) will observe Food Day by addressing the millions of Californians who have limited access to food due to lack of money and other resources by promoting enrollment in CalFresh as a way for low-income families to "eat real" and keep hunger at bay.
On Food Day Americans from all walks of life will come together to talk about health, nutrition and hunger at events across the country and throughout the state. "Food Day is an ideal moment to let Californians know that they may be missing out on receiving benefits that could give their family purchasing power to buy more healthy foods," said Larry Sly, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
CalFresh is an important part of the solution to our state’s hunger crisis and a necessary safety net for low-income Californians struggling during tough times. A recent UCLA study about hunger showed that CalFresh benefits stabilized individuals and families struggling against hunger by providing access to nutritious and affordable food during a time when the number of low-income adults in California who could not afford enough food increased.
Though CalFresh gives millions of low-income Californians access to more healthy and affordable foods, there are still millions more who qualify but are not enrolled.
“We estimate there are 63% (65,750) more income-eligible families who would benefit in Contra Costa County,” said Sly.
In addition to helping individuals and families, CalFresh benefits local economies by returning $1.79 for every $1 of additional CalFresh money delivered to California. It is estimated that if everyone who is eligible for CalFresh participated in the program, approximately $2.8 billion would come back to California.
Food Day shines a spotlight on the power of healthy food to positively transform families and communities, a message that the Network for a Healthy California and CalFresh promote every day.
"By making better choices about what goes in their grocery carts and on their tables, Californians can reduce their risk of obesity and other serious health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer," said Sly. "CalFresh benefits help low-income Californians take home more healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables."