Our CalFresh Outreach Program started almost 20 years ago was primarily staffed by one person named Liz Gomez. worked to ensure that we connected callers with their neighborhood food pantry where they could pick up emergency food right away. She would also help assess program participation in other important nutrition programs, like CalFresh.However, many callers reported they didn't know about the program or needed help with the (16 page!) application.
Flash forward to 2021 and the very same Liz Gomez is the director one of the largest and longest standing CalFresh outreach programs in the state. In the last year, this team helped community members secure million meals and over $53 to the local economy. Our stellar team is now made up of 16 team members and 4 contracted partner organizations who assist community members in finding the resources they need.
“Being involved with helping the community I was raised in is something that I always seen myself doing and being a part of. My favorite thing about working on the outreach team is being a part of a team who all love helping people as much as I do. What satisfies me about this work is being able to help people. Knowing that I made a change in their life and hearing them happy about being assisted makes me happy and touches my heart. I am so proud that I work with colleagues who love to go above and beyond for people who need of our assistance. We all collaborate and always happy to help one another.”
– Abril Barragan, Outreach Associate
So, how does Calfresh Outreach work?
If you’re not familiar with CalFresh, you may be wondering how it fits into ACCFB’s work. Food banks were originally developed to be emergency food response organizations, providing food to folks during a disaster or an unexpected job loss. These days we do so much more to eradicate the root causes of hunger. And that includes CalFresh (the California implementation of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP—which provides financial assistance for purchasing food)!
Community members can contact us over the phone, online, or in person* to check eligibility, ask questions and get support through the application process. You can apply on your own, but the process can be challenging. That’s why our multilingual team is here to help make applying for CalFresh more accessible. Folks who qualify get a CalFresh card that they can use in stores, online, and at farmers' markets to stretch food budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, including more fruit, vegetables, and other healthy foods.
While we will always be here to provide food for folks when they need it, CalFresh outreach is another way that we can work to empower and support our community. We believe firmly that programs like CalFresh are a powerful tool to eradicate hunger because they put power and resources directly into the hands of people who need them.