Guest post by Mariko Yamada, California Assemblymember, 8th Assembly District
In California, over 6 million people are hungry or live in fear of going hungry. As more Californians have difficulty making ends meet, the number of people receiving CalFresh/Supplemental Nutritional Assistants Program or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits has greatly increased. Still, according to federal statistics, California has the lowest participation rate of all the states. In Solano and Yolo counties combined, the under enrollment in CalFresh means we are missing out on an estimated $70.5 million in federal funds each year.
In order to draw attention to the importance and continued need of SNAP/CalFresh, I invite you to join me in taking the “Hunger Challenge” this year from June 11th to June 15th, 2012.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture which administers SNAP, the average weekly food stamp benefit is $22.30 – that’s $4.46 per day, or just $1.49 per meal. So the rules are simple: Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner spending only $1.49 a meal for five days or $22.30 total. The challenge is to see if healthy, tasty meals can be prepared on the same grocery budget used by millions of Americans receiving food assistance.
This will be my fourth year participating in the Challenge as a Legislator and every year I learn again just how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy with very limited resources. You can follow my experiences living on the food assistance budget and learn how you too can take the Challenge on both the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano County blog and the Food Bank of Yolo County blog.
To find out if you are eligible to receive CalFresh benefits, use this online tool. To find your local CalFresh enrollment office or to learn more on food assistance in Solano and Yolo Counties, please visit my website.
Together we can work to end hunger for all.
Assemblymember, 8th Assembly District