- California families will receive up to $US365 per child under an initiative announced Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
- Households on food stamps, with children who receive free or reduced-cost lunches at school, will automatically receive the benefit. Others will need to apply online.
- The money can now be used on Amazon and Walmart.com, the governor said.
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Families struggling to put food on the table will receive up to $US365 per child in the coming months, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday, the same day he announced that schools could reopen as soon as July.
Until schools reopen, children who relied on school cafeterias for free or reduced-cost lunch – about 3.8 million, according to the California Department of Social Services – require assistance.
The money is in addition to benefits provided through the state’s food stamps program, CalFresh – the typical household gets $US300 a month, with an average increase of $US168 since the pandemic – which can now be used to purchase items from Amazon and Walmart.
Not knowing if there would be dinner each night was a problem for millions of kids long before the pandemic hit, with 1.7 million children in the state experiencing “food insecurity,” according to the California Association of Food Banks. The pandemic has only exacerbated existing problems, with the number of Californians applying food assistance spiking by over 60% after shelter-in-place orders ground the economy to a halt.
“Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink,” Newsom said in a press release announcing the decision, which could benefit roughly 3.8 million children identified as at-risk by the California Department of Social Services. “[W]e want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.”
The state expects to spend $US1.8 billion on the initiative, which is slated to end June 12.
Current CalFresh recipients whose children receive free or reduced-price meals at school will automatically receive the extra benefit. Other families with children who receive assistance but are not on food stamps can apply online. Though, the Trump administration has discouraged California’s substantial immigrant population from applying, threatening to revoke legal status if they receive such aid.
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