Outreach efforts seek to boost food stamp participation [Updated]
With fewer than half the eligible Californians enrolled in the federal food stamp program, state and local officials have been stepping up efforts to spread awareness of the benefit.
The California Department of Social Services has a pre-screening tool posted on its website that people can use to estimate if they are eligible for food stamps. They can also download the forms to apply for the program.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services sends outreach workers to food pantries, health centers and other community sites to inform residents about food stamps. It has also contracted with faith-based and other nonprofit organizations to help residents with the application process.
The city of Los Angeles has opened 21 Family Source Centers to provide free counseling and connect struggling residents to government services. At the centers, residents can fill out a form known as a One-E-App to help determine eligibility for a variety of programs, including food stamps.
More information about California's food stamp program is available here.
[Updated at 3:40 p.m.: California First Lady Maria Shriver and the Women's Conference are hosting a three-day community resources fair beginning Friday to help connect Los Angeles families to free support services, including tax preparation, flu shots and food stamps. The WE Connect Weekend Los Angeles will take place at the Forum in Inglewood.]
-- Alexandra Zavis