CalFresh Pandemic Benefits End Next Month. What Does that Mean for Hunger in California?

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ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 14: People line up along the 1200-block of Rivera Street at the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim to receive free food in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.  (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

More than 5 million Californians use the state program CalFresh to pay for their groceries. But come April, CalFresh users will see a drop of at least $95 each month with the end of CalFresh’s pandemic fund program. Recipients of these funds report that the extra money gave them the cushion to stop choosing from between going hungry and paying bills. Indeed, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, over 1.1 million Californians were kept out of poverty in 2021 because of these pandemic benefits. Now that they are coming to an end, participants in the program and advocates worry about how people will cope. We’ll talk about what the change in CalFresh funding means for hunger and poverty in the state and where to find additional food support and benefits.

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Becky Silva, director of government relations, California Association of Food Banks

Carly Severn, senior engagement editor, KQED News

Caroline Danielson, senior research fellow, Public Policy Institute of CA - co-author of the yearly California Poverty Measure Report

Jeanne Kuang, reporter, CalMatters

Tom McSpedden, 69-year-old Citrus Heights resident with Type II diabetes who receives CalFresh benefits