Kaiser Permanente is supporting local nonprofits as they seek innovative ways to enroll eligible households in CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program has seen a surge in applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to ensure people have access to and can afford nutritious food, so they can stay healthy.
Kaiser Permanente is awarding $95,000 to the Yolo County Children’s Alliance to help increase enrollment in and use of CalFresh and Pandemic EBT in Yolo County. YCCA plans to use the funding to increase outreach staffing. It will also maintain one-on-one application assistance for 500 clients, including immigrants, families, seniors, those for whom English is not their first language, and those without stable housing.
“We feel extremely fortunate that we continue to receive support from our local community and dedicated sponsors like Kaiser Permanente, especially during these trying times,” said Katie Villegas, executive director for the Yolo County Children’s Alliance. “Now more than ever, the families that YCCA serves need support to make it through this challenging period. This grant will help us leverage more of our resources to reach those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and who are new to accessing public assistance, like the CalFresh program.”
This is one of 18 grants Kaiser Permanente is awarding to food banks, community clinics and family-resource centers in Northern California to increase enrollment in CalFresh, with an emphasis on outreach to underserved communities. CalFresh helps low-income individuals, families and households to purchase nutritious food, providing up to $204 a month per household member in food benefits.
“People cannot maintain and achieve total health without stable access to nutritious food,” said Sandy Sharon, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento. “We know by supporting organizations like YCCA, we will address the critical issue that food insecurity has become amid the pandemic.”
CalFresh applications have quadrupled and 98% of food banks have reported a jump in demand for food assistance since the state implemented COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Kaiser Permanente has awarded additional grants, including $200,000 to California Association of Food Banks and $100,000 to California WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Association.