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CalFresh Participation Summit Solidifies Shared Goals

December 18, 2014

Pictured above are (from left to right) roundtable speakers Will Lightbourne (Director, California Department of Social Services), Frank Mecca (Executive Director, County Welfare Directors Association of California), Teri Olle (Policy and Advocacy Director, SF-Marin Food Bank), Under Secretary Kevin Concannon (Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA), Stacy Dean (Vice President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), and Alexis Fernandez (Legislative Director, California Food Policy Advocates). 

December 10th, 2014

Sacramento, CA – We are all feeling inspired at the California Association of Food Banks on the heels of the very successful CalFresh Participation Summit organized by the Alliance to Transform CalFresh (ATC). Convened by CAFB, the Alliance is a groundbreaking group of leading non-profit organizations working together to advance an ambitious but pragmatic goal: move California from a 50% participation rate in CalFresh (among the last in the nation) to a 75% participation rate (top ten in the nation) in the next five years in order to significantly reduce hunger in our state. Held in the lovely Bannon Island room at the Sierra Health Foundation, the Summit brought together over 60 key stakeholders from federal, state and county-level agencies and organizations to have high-level, collaborative discussions about how to boost participation and deliver excellent service to all CalFresh consumers statewide. A roundtable on CalFresh participation provided insight into the trends, opportunities, and challenges in statewide consumer access and included speakers such as Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition Service, and Consumer Services, Will Lightbourne, Director of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), and Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA). The purpose of the convening was to continue building momentum in the drive to reach the Alliance’s goal of 75% or better CalFresh participation by 2016. 

We were in awe of the level of commitment, creativity, and partnership demonstrated by attendees as they set about bringing CalFresh to the next level for all people in need of food. The experience has left us recharged and looking forward to the work ahead! In coming weeks, the Alliance to Transform CalFresh will be working with CDSS, CWDA, counties, USDA, and advocates on the specific ideas coming out of the Summit — including a renewed focus on dual participation with MediCal, the consumer experience, and verifications, as well as integration with other programs (such as school meals and WIC), data on program performance, best practices and standards, and more.

We can’t wait to tell you more about what 2015 will bring for ATC. We especially want to thank The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Kaiser Permanente, The California HealthCare Foundation, The Walter & Elise Haas Fund, The Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and Share Our Strength for their ongoing support of the Alliance. For more on our activities, please visit the Alliance website at www.transformcalfresh.org.

To review 2014 Summit materials, please visit here >>


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