Esperanza Orozco cooks in her kitchen with food purchased through CalFresh benefits.

California’s largest anti-hunger program serves a quarter- million Riverside County residents

With food prices up 10 percent from a year ago, CalFresh, California’s largest food assistance program, is needed nowmore than ever. Esperanza Orozco is among more than a quarter million Riverside County residents using CalFresh benefits to stretch their monthly grocery budget. Orozco buys her groceries with help from an Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, card. “It got to the point where I worried if I could afford to pay the cashier when I was going to check out,” Orozco said. “But now, I can afford groceries all month long. This program has been a blessing.”

Experts say thousands of low-income county residents qualify for CalFresh but don’t know about the program. Over the last year, the department increased efforts to enroll more customers, including using two newly purchased mobile outreach vans to help customers in underserved communities. The department is urging county residents to apply and see if they qualify. Staff members are also educating customers on the program’s massive benefits, including workforce training and childcare support for enrolled families. CalFresh also generates more than $1 billion a

Annual Report 2021/2022

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