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Legislature Protects Key Anti-Hunger and Anti-Poverty Programs in State Budget Deal

May 30, 2024

Yesterday, the Assembly and Senate released their Joint Legislative Budget Plan, an important milestone in the state budget process, and an affirmation of California’s commitment to nourishing communities across our whole state. Today, the Assembly Budget Committee and Senate Budget Subcommittees passed the plan out of their respective committees.

We are grateful that the Legislature took this important step and remained firmly committed to creating a State budget that protects our progress towards our shared vision of a hunger-free California for all. We learned the hard lesson from the Great Recession that cutting and delaying funding for life-saving social safety net programs has devastating outcomes for not only individuals and families facing challenging economic times but also whole communities and the entire state.

In our most recent survey of CAFB member food banks last month, we learned that collectively the network is serving a staggering 6 million people per month – a 20% increase from 2023. And, they are doing this with only 4% more food in their warehouses. While food banks have always been experts at doing more with less – especially when their communities need them most – it is imperative that our State Budget continue to invest in critical anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs like CalFresh, CalWORKS, school and summer meals, and food bank programs like CalFood and the State Emergency Food Bank Reserve.

We thank Pro Tem McGuire, Speaker Rivas, Budget Chairs Sen. Wiener and Asm. Gabriel, and Human Services Budget Sub-Chairs Sen. Menjivar and Asm. Jackson, for their bold vision and unwavering commitment – especially during a tough budget environment – to prioritizing the well-being of millions of Californians experiencing hunger and poverty today. We are particularly grateful for key priorities that will leverage the strength of hunger-fighting programs like CalFresh, CalWORKs, school meals, and SUN Bucks, among many others:

We are, however, disappointed that the Joint Legislative budget Plan does not include sustained funding for the proven and successful Diaper Bank Program and Menstrual Products Pilot, and we urge action in the final budget to allow diaper banks to continue the distribution of these essential hygiene products. In addition, we call on the Legislature and Administration to ensure on-time implementation of the CFAP expansion to older adults regardless of immigration status, and continuous Medi-Cal coverage to young children.

In the coming days and weeks, we look forward to working with the Administration and budget leaders to ensure a final 2024-25 State Budget that reflects all of these critical priorities, so that we can continue moving towards our shared mission of ending hunger in California.

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