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Second Harvest Partners with Chavez Supermarkets to Connect Local Families to CalFresh

Only About Half of Those Eligible Receive This Critical Source of Food

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 24, 2014– Thousands of local families and individuals are going hungry despite the fact that they are eligible for CalFresh (food stamps). Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is partnering with Chavez Supermarkets to bolster its effort to connect people to this critical source of food. Calfresh benefits are provided on a debit card, which is used to buy groceries.

"Working with Second Harvest Food Bank to promote the benefits of the CalFresh program is a win-win for the community and Chavez Supermarkets," said Beto Chavez, general manager of Chavez Supermarkets. "It is important for Chavez Supermarket to provide fresh, quality, and affordable foods to low-income communities in the Bay Area. CalFresh helps many of the families we serve, allowing them to stretch their food budgets in an easy and discreet way."

CalFresh is what California calls the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, and the Golden State has one of the lowest participation rates in the country. Only about half of those eligible for the program in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties participate. Not only are too many of our neighbors needlessly going hungry, but it also means the local economy loses out on millions of dollars every year.

To ensure that eligible families can participate in CalFresh, Second Harvest has a multilingual team of specialists who work out in the community helping families and individuals apply for the food-assistance program. Thanks to the partnership with Chavez Supermarkets, these specialists now staff a table at stores in Menlo Park, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. Posters and fliers located inside the store help to raise awareness about the availability of CalFresh.

"There are a number of reasons people don't apply for CalFresh, and often it's simply because they don't know about it," said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. "Having a reputable business like Chavez Supermarkets helping to raise awareness and providing a place for people to meet with our CalFresh specialists will make this critical source of food available to more children and families who need it. When people go to the grocery store, they are thinking about feeding their families, and we can help by connecting them to CalFresh."

Second Harvest provides food to more than 250,000 people every month. The Food Bank partners with more than 330 nonprofit agencies to distribute food at more than 770 sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including pantries, soup kitchens, community centers, and shelters. Last year, Second Harvest distributed more than 52 million pounds of food. An additional 5.2 million pounds of food was provided through Second Harvest's efforts to connect people to CalFresh.

Families who are struggling to put food on the table should call Second Harvest's Food Connection multilingual hotline at 800-984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs that can help, including CalFresh.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to more than one quarter of a million people each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. More than half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices. Visit www.SHFB.org to get involved.