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County officials address growing food insecurity

Cal Fresh Awareness Month

OW Staff Writer | 5/7/2021, midnight
Los Angeles County has launched CalFresh Awareness Month..

Los Angeles County has launched CalFresh Awareness Month, highlighting efforts to fight rising food insecurity.

The Department of Public Social Services hopes to raise public awareness about food benefits available through the CalFresh Nutrition Program. The campaign also urges everyone to share information about CalFresh with those in their community who need it most.

“Hunger impacts all aspects of human life from healthcare to education, and it is essential that we increase awareness of CalFresh,'' DPSS Director Antonia Jimenez said. “Families who were just barely getting by paycheck-to- paycheck before the pandemic have been hit even harder by the COVID-19 crisis.''

Food insecurity means that a family or individual is unable to afford or access enough food. The lack of healthy, nutritious food can impair development in children, increase the risk of mental health issues among adolescents and contribute to malnutrition and worsening medical conditions in the elderly.

Over the past year, food insecurity hit an all-time high in Los Angeles County, with an estimated 873,000 households experiencing at least one instance of food insecurity, according to DPSS.

In 2020, the county utilized $137 million in CARES Act funding to distribute 10 million pounds of food at more than 100 drive-thru events. While this funding was temporary, CalFresh offers a long-term solution.

The department has planned a virtual town hall next Tuesday to promote CalFresh and answer questions. It will be livestreamed via DPSS' Facebook page at @LACoDPSS at 9 a.m. May 11.