Second Harvest of Silicon Valley provides fresh nutritious food to thousands of families every month and works to connect our community to important federal safety net programs. And yet, 1 in 4 people in Silicon Valley are still at risk of hunger. Over the last 50 years, the United States has created programs that reduce hunger and increase health. Despite decades of success with these anti-poverty programs, the current federal administration is working to restrict access and attempting to drive people away from using benefit programs. We need our community to mobilize and comment.

The latest challenge to SNAP (the federal grocery program known as CalFresh in California) is the administrations proposal to eliminate “categorical eligibility.”

Santa Clara County estimates that this change would remove 7,000 people from CalFresh – including almost 3,000 children and nearly 2,000 seniors. “Categorical eligibility” is utilized by more than 40 states to qualify people for benefits across programs without having to file separate applications. This is a huge administrative savings for counties and states and an immense time savings for people in need.

“Categorical eligibility” also allows states to take cost-of-living into account when screening for benefit eligibility. Without this rule, far fewer people in Silicon Valley would qualify for CalFresh. This policy change was explicitly rejected by Congress in the Farm Bill that passed last fall. The administration proudly estimates that this would remove 3 million people from SNAP/CalFresh. We believe that removing food assistance from people in need should not be a source of pride.

Second Harvest works to decrease hunger in many ways, including assisting our school districts to feed more children through federal school and summer meals programs. School meals improve attendance and behavior so children can learn and thrive. Children whose families qualify for federal benefit programs can be automatically qualified for school meals under categorical eligibility. With the removal of this rule, approximately 170,000 children statewide would risk losing federally funded school meals. In addition, this loss of school meals Read More – Source