Celebrating Progress in the Fight Against Hunger in CA

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Farmers' markets are starting to reopen, after some had to shut down when their venues were closed during the COVID lockdowns. Photo Credit: SEE LA

LOS ANGELES — Hunger-fighting advocacy groups are speaking out in California, drawing attention to the continuing problem of food insecurity, and also to recent progress on that front.

This month and next, families on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will get a fruit and vegetable benefit of $35, which more than three times what they normally receive. The increase was part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan.

Frank Tamborello, director of Hunger Action Los Angeles, noted Los Angeles County has recently stepped up to the plate in a big way.

“We had a victory with the County Board of Supervisors, who have agreed to provide $2 million to help support the Market Match program, and other programs like it, that provide bonus dollars to people using CalFresh food assistance,” Tamborello explained.

A survey from the U.S. Census Bureau in late June and early July found 2.7 million Californians reported not having enough to eat. Market Match gives people who rely on CalFresh a dollar-for-dollar match, good at hundreds of farmers’ markets and other farm-direct sites across the state.

A number of farmers’ markets that were forced to shut down during the pandemic are now back in business.

Stacey Whitney, manager of the Altadena Farmer’s market, which takes place in a newly reopened county park, applauded the added support.

“For our mental wellness and our physical wellness as it relates to fresh food, it’s just great to see everyone back at the market,” Whitney remarked.

Advocates urged Congress to make permanent the expanded federal Child Tax Credit, which gives parents between $250 and $300 per child each month. It is currently slated to expire in December.