DPSS Is Working to End Hunger One Household at a Time Consistent Access to Nutritious Food is Vital to a Strong and Health Community

By: Dr. Jackie Contreras

As Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), I know all too well that securing three meals a day is a daily struggle for far too many people in the communities we serve. I also know from personal experience that food subsidy programs can make a huge difference for families, as it did for mine, growing up in central California. Given this, I am committed to working together to reach all those in need.

Currently, one in four Los Angeles County residents experience food insecurity, defined by the federal government as “the lack of consistent access to food to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.” Families with children, grandparents, people with disabilities, college students, and other hardworking people who work two or three jobs, are examples of those who often skip a meal due to a tight food budget.

Consistent access to nutritious food is the foundation of a strong, healthy community, and the most impactful resource available to support this vision is the CalFresh program, California’s version of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

CalFresh ensures that qualifying individuals and families have the resources to purchase healthy foods, so they do not have to choose between groceries, paying rent, or buying clothing. Over 1.6 million Los Angeles County residents receive CalFresh benefits, and studies indicate that there are many more that qualify who have not applied. Based on data published by the California Department of Social Services, it is estimated that an additional 322,000 LA County residents are eligible for CalFresh.

Thanks to the leadership of the Board of Supervisors, the County declared May 2024 as CalFresh Awareness Month, to raise public awareness and to encourage eligible residents to apply for CalFresh.

Throughout the month, our amazing staff at DPSS, in collaboration with our partners, including the Department of Public Health, community-based organizations, cities, colleges, school districts, farmers’ markets and public agencies such as Metro, came together to deliver a powerful message to households facing barriers to accessing healthy food: that CalFresh is an effective resource that could transform their lives for the better.

While May is designated officially as CalFresh Awareness Month, DPSS is dedicated all year round to increase access to this life changing program. So, if you know someone who may need help, urge them to apply. If you believe you may need help, I urge you to apply.

We are here to help.

Visit BenefitsCal.com today to apply online for CalFresh. ican, California, city and MIA-POW flags – year-round.