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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in US, global migratory fish populations.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial, while both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Recipients Prepare for Big Drop in CalFresh Benefits

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Monday, March 13, 2023   

CalFresh benefits are set to plummet for almost five million people in the state starting in a few weeks - as the emergency COVID increase expires.

Individuals will lose an average of $82 a month, families will get about $200 less. Trinidad Luna of Los Angeles, who has had both his legs amputated at the knee due to diabetes, said he's gone from $215 a month down to $25.

"I don't know who came up with this price," said Luna. "I mean, did they live it? Did they say OK, I'll volunteer to live this way for about a month or two and see if it can be done? I doubt that. It's hard to get around and go to the food bank with my wheelchair falling apart, but I keep on pushing. I'm not going to give up."

Advocates advise people to take full advantage of other anti-hunger programs, such as free school breakfast and lunch - and Market Match, which doubles CalFresh dollars at participating farmers' markets.

Mary is a CalFresh recipient from Orange County who was hospitalized during COVID, has a severe eye condition, and has battled pre-diabetes. She said she will see her benefits drop from $281 a month down to $23, and worries that the drop in benefits could impact her sugar levels and overall health.

"The doctor said, 'Well, you're going to have to change your eating habits' and all these different foods that I was not used to - they are more quality, but they are also more expensive," she said. "So it did help a lot the food stamps on having better food choices to get the pre-diabetes out of my body."

Frank Tamborello - executive director of Hunger Action LA - said while people can't come close to replacing what's being cut, there are some things they can do to help.

"First of all, when people's CalFresh benefits do get adjusted downward, they can go to the county office and re-enter their monthly living expenses," said Tamborello. "And this could result in a higher benefit. Second, there are a lot of families that could qualify for the WIC program. And you're able to get the WIC and CalFresh programs at the same time."

Ana-Alicia Carr - community advocacy director in LA for the American Heart Association - noted that a recent report from the University of Southern California found that 25% of households in LA didn't have enough food on the table, and this number is even higher among Black and Latino
residents, women, young adults, and low-income households.

"Of the households who are experiencing food insecurity, four out of 10 of those report having children in the home," said Carr. "So we are seeing food insecurity at levels that are worse than even 10 years before the pandemic."

The heart association supports state Senate Bill 605, which would expand the supplemental California Fruit and Vegetable program.



Disclosure: American Heart Association Western States Region and Hunger Action Los Angeles contribute to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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