In the fall of 2009, the UFW Foundation was awarded a grant from The California Endowment (TCE) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to conduct community outreach, education and assistance with public benefits with a special focus on Food Stamps (now known as CalFresh) for farm worker and low-income communities in Kern and Monterey County.
Since starting its CalFresh and Public Benefits outreach, the UFW Foundation has presented information at more than 100 community education workshops covering Public Benefits eligibility requirements, the application process, common myths and immigration implications. These presentations have occurred throughout Kern and Monterey counties in public libraries, low-income housing community centers, schools, etc. UFW Foundation outreach providers regularly attend health fairs, flea markets and other community events in order to distribute relevant public benefits information.
Our Bakersfield, Salinas, and Greenfield offices offer application assistance with: CalFresh (Food Stamps), Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, Healthy Families, and Unemployment benefits.
What is Cal Fresh?
CalFresh is a government program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meant to help low-income families have access to healthy and nutritious food. Previously known as the Food Stamp program, the new name is intended to encourage the use of the program among those who may think of it as simply a welfare program. Many people in California, roughly 50%, who qualify for CalFresh benefits, do not receive them because they think they are not eligible, are too embarrassed, are not familiar with the application process, or see the process as being too difficult. For these reasons and other myths that are particular to the Latino and farm worker community, many in our communities, including children, go hungry every day.
The efforts of the CalFresh Outreach program in Monterey and Kern County aims to increase the participation of eligible families and individuals in the CalFresh program. Through community workshops and presentations, informational outreach at local supermarkets and churches, and providing application assistance, the UFW Foundation is helping to dismantle common myths that prevent many from applying. Specifically, we are attempting to improve the quality of life of struggling families, specifically the Latino community, who face additional barriers.
The lack of participation in the CalFresh program among eligible families, translates into a state loss of billions of dollars in federal benefits. According to the USDA, every $5 of CalFresh benefits generates approximately $9 in local economic activity. If all income eligible individuals or families in Kern County participated in the CalFresh program, an estimated $97 million in additional federal benefits could be used and generate about $175 million in annual economic activity. Similarly, Monterey County forgoes an estimated $57 million in federal benefits and $100 million in economic activity annually.
CalFresh can be used by anyone that falls within the eligibility guidelines. It can be used by single adults, households without children, the elderly; it is not a program only for mothers or families with children. In cases, when a family member is not eligible due to their immigration status, is a recipient of SSI, or any other reason, other people in the household could be eligible. In order to apply, the household’s income and other eligibility factors are considered to determine whether or not that household is eligible.
How Do I Apply?
Applying is easy and we at the UFW Foundation can help you. Call us at 1-877-881-8281 for an appointment. If it is an emergency, families can get emergency Calfresh 3 days!
How do I know if I am eligible?
County offices are the only ones who can verify your eligibility, but we can help you determine your chances.
You may be eligible if:
You currently not receive CalFresh
You do not receive SSI or CAPI
You have at least one person who is a permanent resident, citizen or eligible immigrant
Your income is less than the limit per family
CalFresh benefits are for all people who are eligible, regardless of age
Are immigrant eligible?
Some immigrants are eligible:
• People with their "green card" or permanent resident card
• Refugees who have been granted asylum
• People of Cuba or Haiti
• If they have been victims of domestic violence and are in the process of arranging status
• If they have been victims of trafficking or human exploitation ("T- Visas")
• If they have been victims of crimes within the US and have cooperated with the police ("U-Visas")
I am a Legal Permanent Resident, will Calfresh my ability to become a citizen?
NO as long as you qualify for benefits including medical care (Medi-Cal), the mere fact of receiving this aid does not disqualify you to become a citizen in the future.
If I Apply Will My Information Be Sent over to ICE?
The county office may report to immigration authorities if there is final deportation order pending. You should not tell anyone that you or someone in your family is undocumented. You must include all the names of people in your family in the application but do not have to say why some are asking for help and not for others.
Will getting CalFresh Affect My Ability to Adjust My Immigration Status?
You may have issues fixing your immigration status in the future if you receive benefits that pay cash as: - CalWORKs - SSI or CAPI - General Assistance / General Relief - O health care Medi-Cal only if they are long-term care. These programs may be deemed a public charge.
Questions? Want to Book an Appointment?
Call our UFW Foundation offices: 1- 877-881-8281
Information Line Food Stamp: 1-888-9-FOOD or visit www.misalimentos.org