By Sharmin Sampat, MS, dietetic intern, California Polytechnic State University
Our mission here at the SLO Food Bank Coalition is to alleviate hunger and build a healthier community. 46,000 residents in the San Luis Obispo County struggle with hunger and everyday make the difficult choice between buying food or other necessities. 1 in 6 households are food insecure, including children, home-bound individuals, senior citizens and many members of the veteran community.
The Farm Bill is the primary federal legislation for the agriculture, farming, food and nutrition in the United States of America. It impacts the well-being of millions of people who struggle to put food on their plates since most of this bill’s funding is utilized on food subsidies. The Farm Bill programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) help provide food to the community and that is where the Food Bank comes into the picture – the Food Bank helps in operating these programs.
SNAP (CalFresh): SNAP in California is known as CalFresh and is the largest food program in California. It provides food benefits to families and individuals with low-income and helps them in purchasing nutritious food from the grocery store or a farmers’ market. The Food Bank has an internal Calfresh Outreach Program to help connect people who qualify for this resource and can benefit from it.
TEFAP: This program provides food to low-income families and individuals via food banks in partnership with the USDA. Through TEFAP, we hold 52 monthly public food distributions serving 5000-6000 individuals throughout San Luis Obispo County.
CSFP: This program provides food to low-income seniors ages 60 and older and helps in supplementing their diet.
Here at the Food Bank Coalition, we strive to provide food to people in need through programs such as CalFresh Outreach, Neighborhood Food Distributions, Grocery Rescue, GleanSLO, Children’s Farmers Market, No-Cook Bags for the Homeless, Senior’s Farmers Market, and Summer Breakfast Bags for Children and teens. To learn more about our programs, click here.