California programs work to end hunger in our communities

Given the fluctuating nature of the Agriculture industry, there may be periods of time when workers are unemployed or in need of assistance. The State of California and partnering organizations provide a number of assistance services to help those in need obtain our most basic necessities, such as food.

CalFresh Program

The CalFresh Program provides those in need with a monthly benefit to buy food at most supermarkets and some farmers markets. The benefit is based on the size of your household, your income level, your property and your bills.

The CalFresh program allows you to buy nutritious food for your family, as well as plants and seeds to grow food on your own with food stamps. While there are some limitations to what you can buy with food stamps, including alcohol and tobacco products, this program helps many Californians provide their families with the fresh, healthy food they need.

How to apply for the CalFresh Program

To get information on the CalFresh Program you can visit C4yourself, an online application system that will assist you in applying for benefits at www.c4yourself.com or you can print out an application at www.dss.cahwnet.gov/ foodstamps. You can also call the CalFresh information line at 1-877-847-3663.

Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) & Local Food Bank Information

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP), provides low-income individuals and households with surplus commodities donated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, the program also administers privately donated products as well. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) works with food banks in each county to serve as part of the distribution network.

Food Banks throughout the state provide individuals and communitybased organizations with food in a coordinated effort running off volunteers and community involvement. While some counties have more than one Food Bank to serve residents, there are some counties that have no Food Banks and rely on those in neighboring counties.

These commodities are provided to qualifying recipients at no cost. To qualify, recipients must meet the eligibility criteria in accordance with USDA Regulations, including that they reside in the geographical area being served. The recipient may be asked to present evidence that they live in the service area, such as a Driver’s License. However, if documented proof of residency cannot be supplied, food may not be denied to the recipient if they agree to sign an EFAP Certification of Eligibility form (EFA-7).

To find a food bank in your area, visit www.dss.cahwnet.gov/efap/PG1910.htm.

It’s tax Season – Do you have your W-2?

State and federal personal income tax returns for 2010 are due on April 18, 2011. Employers are required to mail out employee W-2 forms needed for filing income tax returns by January 31, 2011. If you have not received your W-2, contact your employer and ask for another copy and make sure that they have your correct address and contact information.

Once you have your W-2 you are able to file your State and Federal income tax returns. Other items you will need to file your tax returns include:

  • Valid Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • Birth dates for primary, secondary and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
  • Other relevant information about income and expenses