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Reliable Access to Healthy Food is About to Get Harder

This month, millions of Americans will lose SNAP benefits that were provided through pandemic emergency hunger relief programs, including California CalFresh recipients.


The emergency benefits have been available for CalFresh recipients for three years and the loss of those benefits will make it noticeably harder for food insecure families to meet their basic nutritional needs. The decrease in benefits (estimated to be at least $95/household) combined with higher prices at the grocery store means that food assistance programs like +BOX will become even more critical to ensuring that low-income families have consistent access to fresh, healthy, nutrient-rich foods.


There are more than 227,000 households enrolled in CalFresh in San Diego County, so our community is expected to lose more than $21,500,000 in monthly benefits. Even without the end of pandemic emergency benefits, +BOX is already fielding requests for increases in the number of boxes needed from our existing partners. We expect that the loss of CalFresh benefits will exacerbate the problem and put added pressure on nonprofit organizations, like +BOX, to fill the increased need.

 

“It’s something that people are going to notice. It’s $3 billion a month that’s going to food that’s not going to be there anymore.”

  • Dottie Rosenbaum, Director of Federal SNAP Policy, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities

 

+BOX is committed to supporting as many food insecure students and families as possible. In fact, we increased our output by 24% during 2022 (compared to 2021) and will continue to expand, including the addition of two new school distribution sites in Oceanside this year. That being said, like most non-profit food assistance programs, we are stretched pretty thin. To adequately address this abrupt increase in need, we’re going to need help from our community of supporters and partners.


Here are few ways you can help:

  • Write to your elected federal representatives and encourage them to support increased funding for SNAP benefits for low-income children and families. Or, as an alternative, make funding available for community based non-profit organizations that will be called upon to pick up the slack to ensure children and families don’t lose access to healthy food.

You can look up your representatives and write to them here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

  • Support +BOX with a financial donation. +BOX is fully funded through charitable donations, so it’s only with your financial support that we can meet this moment. A donation of $48 provides a food insecure family with weekly access to healthy food for a month.

Or contact Kayla Camac for more information at: kayla@equationcollaborative.org

  • Donate your time. Joining +BOX volunteer shifts helps us increase our capacity to support food insecure families. We offer multiple Pack Out and Produce Sorting shifts each week, but if you’d like to diversify your volunteer experience, then we encourage you to also support our partners, like ProduceGood, who regularly provides us with fresh produce at virtually no cost. The entire food assistance system will be called upon to support families in our community, so get involved in any way you can!

You can register for +BOX volunteer opportunities here: https://www.plus-box.org/volunteer

Or contact Daniel Floyd for more information at: daniel@plus-box.org


No matter how you decide to help, we certainly appreciate your support. There’s a lot of work to be done, so let’s work together to make sure children and families in our community continue to have access to healthy food!



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