(NAPA, California) On Nov.1, approximately 6,600 people in Napa County saw a reduction in their monthly food budget because of federal changes, passed by Congress in 2010, to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) temporarily increased benefits during the downturn in the economy, and now the benefits have ended. In California, the program is known as CalFresh; the cuts will impact 4.1 million people, or 11 percent of the state’s population.
Each household’s CalFresh benefits are based on monthly income, expenses and household size, and the reductions also will vary according to household. For example, a one-person household would see an $11 reduction, and a four-person household would see a $36 reduction.
“For most people, that doesn’t sound like a lot of money,” said Lynn Perez, director of Self-Sufficiency Services at Napa County. “But for people who are working to stretch every food dollar as far as it can go, that is a huge hit, especially when children are involved.”
Perez noted that people who need assistance in providing food for their families can also seek help from the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children (WIC) and the local food bank.
Despite government shutdown last month, the WIC program in Napa is accepting new applicants and continues to serve current participants. The program will continue to issue vouchers for food and offer educational support for nutrition and breastfeeding for pregnant and postpartum women and children to the age of 5. All vouchers issued will be honored by WIC-authorized retailers in Napa County.
The Food Bank is run by Community Action of Napa Valley (CANV) and offers emergency food to families and seniors, as well as other programs. The holiday season is traditionally a time of high demand, and the cuts to the CalFresh program will only increase the need, said Food Bank Program Director Shirley King. Donations of cash or food are critically needed. Contact the Food Bank at (707) 253-6128.
For more information or if you need food assistance for you and your family, please contact the Napa County WIC Program at (707) 253-4853; Self Sufficiency Division at (707) 253-4511 or you can apply online for CalFresh benefits at c4yourself.com.