Raise CalFresh Funding For California Now
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We’re two high school students from California who see hunger as one of the most rampant and urgent issues facing our state right now. According to FeedingAmerica, CalFresh, California’s updated food stamp system, has been unable to properly nourish nearly 13% of Californians, over half of which are children. Therefore, we beseech you, the state of California, to add additional funds to make up for the insufficient funding from the federal SNAPs (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) provides in order to properly feed our citizens. (http://map.feedingamerica.org/)
California currently faces a crisis that has passed under the radar for many. “Food insecure,” “hungry,” and “malnourished” describe the 4.8 million Californians in need of federal subsidies to pay for their food. Twelve and a half percent of Californians are still only receiving just over half of the money they need to pay for their meals. Despite the $7.6 billion received from the federal government for use in CalFresh, the program’s funding is severely behind what food insecure Californians are in need of. According to FeedingAmerica, a non-profit organization committed to ending hunger in the United States, Californians need a minimum of $3.14 per meals, meaning that using the current Calfresh budget, Calfresh has the capability to feed only 2.21 million of 4.80 million food insecure Californians. However, with the current undersized budget, the average Californian using CalFresh can expect to receive only $149 for food per month, or $1.66 per meal compared to the necessary $282 per month that CalFresh needs to provide to its participants. An estimated increase of $2.75 billion dollars would be needed in order to properly fund CalFresh.(http://www.cdss.ca.gov/calfreshoutreach/res/Toolkit/Appendices-GeneralMarket/GeneralMarketAppendices_F1_CalFreshFAQs.pdf)
Because of the insufficient amount of money CalFresh offers, food insecure individuals are likely to turn to low cost fast food, or other forms of high fat, high carb, and low nutrient rich foods, which has caused an epidemic of obesity among impoverished individuals. The Food Research and Action Center summarizes why, and specifically refers to why those who rely on food stamps, tend to consume more “energy-dense, nutrient poor” foods. According to the FRAC center, “When available, healthy food may be more expensive in terms of the monetary cost as well as (for perishable items) the potential for waste, whereas refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive, palatable, and readily available in low-income communities”(http://frac.org/obesity-health/low-income-food-insecure-people-vulnerable-poor-nutrition-obesity). Falling prey to the nearly addictive taste and energy that comes from these foods, food insecure individuals have a much higher risk of developing obesity and/or diabetes.
In conclusion, California has been plagued with hunger for years, and the current “solution,” CalFresh, is failing to properly supply citizens with the nutritious food options they deserve. We seek to reform CalFresh’s funding and regulations in order to provide more residents with a larger food budget. As healthy food options in California continue to increase in price, those participating in the CalFresh program are forced to purchase lower cost, but less nourishing foods. Accordingly, we call upon Catharine Baker in the California State Assembly and Steve Glazer in the California State Senate to help change legislation to increase the funding of CalFresh. The citizens of California have a right to access healthy and nutritious foods for themselves and their families.
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