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Access CalFresh Benefits Today. Purchase Groceries Tomorrow

Post Date:07/28/2020 4:00 PM

Long gone are the days of crumpled paper food stamps and the stigmas that carried with them.

Now, recipients are fashioned with eclectic Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards that look and work like a debit or credit card with a modern take.

Introducing the Fresh EBT app, a smartphone application recommended by the Department of Employment and Benefit Services (DEBS) of Santa Clara County.

According to DEBS of Santa Clara County, Fresh EBT gives CalFresh recipients the ability to track spending, manage benefits, find participating stores, and most importantly— put food on the table.

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California’s EBT card is called the “Golden State Advantage Card”, and program participants can use the Fresh EBT app to check their EBT balance on smartphone devices.

“I feel like there is a lot people that need help,” said Vanessa, 50, an eligibility worker of five years and native of San José who requested her last name remain anonymous.

“But for some reason they are afraid to get help or don’t know they can get help putting food on the table through CalFresh.”

Today’s EBT technology has advanced in an age where ensuring food security is of the utmost importance, but it’s time for attitudes to advance as well.

CalFresh Food, California’s name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP), is an assistance program that supports low-income residents, and even those temporarily impacted, with EBT food benefits that can be used at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food outlets, and much more.

“The CalFresh program helps many of our residents put food on the table while [they] are out of a job and are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic,” the five-year social worker explained.

“If you are approved, you will receive an EBT card with money for groceries. You can even purchase your groceries online via Amazon and Walmart.”

From ordering groceries online to accessing food benefits on a smartphone, CalFresh Food’s modern accessibility is an absolute game changer when it comes to helping residents purchase food.

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Credit: Photo by Retha Ferguson; EBT cards can be used at many different grocers, food outlets, corner stores, discount stores, dollar stores, and even membership warehouses

Whether it's your first time or third time, residents are encouraged to sign up for CalFresh food benefits in their time of need.

And with experienced social workers standing by to assist in multiple languages, calling the CalFresh Benefits Hotline (listed below) or submitting an online application at www.GetCalFresh.org could mean the difference between ensuring food security for our most vulnerable.

“I received an application from a single mother of two children once, left her a message and she called me right back in tears,” the San José native admitted.

“She has never in her life asked for food assistance before, but thinking of her children going hungry made her apply.”

Applicants sign up for CalFresh by completing and submitting a single signature application which consists of their name, address and signature, that’s it.

Once an application is approved, CalFresh Food benefits are deposited monthly into an EBT card that can be used to purchase food and groceries— no questions asked.

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Purchase fresh produce at your local supermarket or head down to your favorite farmers’ market with EBT food benefits in your pocket.

According to Double Up CA, the CalFresh EBT card also comes with perks when used at participating grocery stores in San Jose and Gilroy.  

With CalFresh’s “Double Up Food Bucks program”, EBT card holders can get fruits and vegetables by earning $1 free “Double Up Food Buck” for every $1 spent at participating grocery stores in Santa Clara County.

So by helping applicants access EBT food benefits with Fresh EBT and providing incentive programs like Double Up CA, today’s CalFresh eligibility workers are working to change the stigma against food assistance.

One application at a time.

“Many of our residents are facing unprecedented challenges during this pandemic,” said Vanessa.

“You should not have to do it alone.”

If you are in need of food assistance, please visit GetCalFresh.org to request or call 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD) to connect with your County Social Services Officer. You can also go to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley shfb.org/getfood or call 1-800-984-3663 and one of their Food Connection Specialists can help you find out if you qualify. 

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