When additional government benefits run out in a few months, according to officials at food banks and pantries around California, a rush of new residents in urgent need of food is expected to arrive.
It follows the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought to light what many neighborhood activists and groups already knew: the most damaged populations were already having difficulty meeting their most basic requirements, including rent, healthcare, and food.
And the pandemic raised the demand for such essentials across the Golden State, particularly for food after the viral shutdowns resulted in the loss of employment for millions of people.
According to an email signed Monday by Lauren Lathan Reid, communications director for the California Association of Food Banks, “some families will switch from getting $281 to $23 — most of them are elderly individuals.” According to the California Department of Social Services, families will lose $261 on average each month.
Millions of Californians will lose their higher CalFresh assistance by the end of March, which helped them pay for the essential groceries they needed during the COVID pandemic.
And the loss is happening at a time of increasing inflation.
Alarm bells are being raised about the expected jump in food demand for the 5 million Californians who rely on the help of organizations like the California Association of Food Banks and Nourish California, which aim to fight hunger and enhance food accessibility throughout the state.