May is CalFresh Awareness Month
DPSS LAUNCHES VIRTUAL CAMPAIGN TO SERVE NEW CALFRESH CUSTOMERS
The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) is using virtual outreach strategies to promote its annual CalFresh Awareness Month campaign and help more people enroll. In April 2020, according to data received from the State, DPSS received 126,875 CalFresh applications, which is a 179% increase in comparison to April 2019. CalFresh is known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
“There are thousands of County residents who have never depended on public benefits to put food on the table before. They are facing food insecurity and will need CalFresh Program as well as other DPSS services,” says Director Antonia Jiménez.
Ten years after this awareness campaign launch in May 2010, CalFresh food assistance is needed more than ever to help individuals and households who have just lost jobs, businesses, homes and other financial resources. The Department will use this year’s campaign to help new customers apply for CalFresh benefits and introduce them to other assistance programs offered.
Helping those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis
According to the State of California’s Employment Development Department, the county’s March 2020 unemployment rate increased to 6.3 percent from 4.3 percent in February 2020. This is a significant increase from 4.6 percent the previous year.
The COVID-19 crisis caused DPSS to close its doors to the public on March 16 to help slow the spread of the deadly virus. The Department encourages customers to apply for benefits online at dpss.lacounty.gov or at getcalfresh.org.
“In difficult times like this, we are the safety net for millions in L.A. County,” said Jiménez. She added that many have turned to DPSS as a result of the temporary economic downturn.
Information about applying for CalFresh, produced in multiples languages, will be shared on all DPSS communication platforms, including social media and website. The department is urging the public to follow the activities and share the information with those in their community who need it most.
Celebrating 10 Years of CalFresh Awareness Month
Now implemented statewide, CalFresh Awareness Month in L.A. County has been recognized by the California Department of Social Services as a “best practice” to connect with diverse and hard to serve communities through strategic and culturally sensitive outreach.
This year’s campaign will also celebrate new partnerships with the County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and community-based organization and media outlets that serve the county’s hardest to reach communities and populations. The department is also partnering with all 88 cities in the County and local school districts to share information with residents and students during virtual council meetings and other communication platforms.
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