Did you know that 1 out of every 8 Americans lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food? That is roughly 43 million Americans across the country.
Earlier in the school year, Hamlin 7th graders volunteered at the SF-Marin Food Bank and participated in a Hunger 101 simulation. Yesterday they had an opportunity to learn more about how food stamps work by hearing from Leo O’Farrell, San Francisco’s director of CalFresh.
“CalFresh is a benefit that helps low-income people and families buy food. CalFresh is a federally mandated, state-supervised, and county-operated government program designed to eliminate hunger in the United States.”
Mr. O’Farrell has been working to bring sustenance to people in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1980’s. He shared a history of the U.S. food stamp program, discussed eligibility requirements, and explained how his work is connected to elections and federal government funding. Mr. O’Farrell also provided detailed information about how CalFresh uses sophisticated marketing and branding to get the word out to people in need. Specifically he mentioned how Code for America had recently teamed up with CalFresh so that recipients could gain easier access to food using digital technology.
After the presentation, Hamlin students asked Mr. O’Farrell a series of thoughtful questions. They wanted to know about the process for applying, details about how CalFresh is funded, and about how the program is monitored to ensure that food benefits go to the right people. Through their questioning, students also learned more about EBT, a electronic benefit transfer system that puts money for food on a magnetically encoded payment card.
-Special thanks to Randy Mano from CalFresh who also helped with the presentation.
To learn more about CalFresh, please visit: https://www.mybenefitscalwin.org/
To learn more about Hamlin’s visit to the SF-Marin Food Bank, please visit: http://pubs.hamlin.org/blog/2016/09/21/hamlin-7th-graders-volunteer-sf-marin-food-bank/