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A Helping Hand for a Family in Need

Catholic Charities of Orange County (CCOC) provides a variety of services in Orange County to those in need. The Health and Wellness Team often receives calls for other CCOC services. When this occurs, we promptly transfer them to the appropriate staff member, but not before informing them that we can assist with CalFresh Food benefits and Medi-Cal assistance. One day, I received a phone call from a man who mentioned that he was struggling to put food on the table for his family. He asked for the time and address of our food distribution. I provided him with the information and also offered to help him with CalFresh if needed. He thanked me but declined, expressing no interest in applying.

A few weeks later, he reached out once more. He confided in me about feeling ashamed to apply for CalFresh, expressing that as a man, he should be capable of providing for his family without assistance. He worried about the stigma associated with using food stamps, but he acknowledged the necessity to explore eligibility for his family’s sake. I offered reassurance, emphasizing that everyone deserves support during tough times. Additionally, I informed him about the convenience of EBT cards, which function like credit cards, allowing food purchases without revealing CalFresh usage. With a sense of relief, he scheduled an appointment to apply.

He phoned me about three weeks later and explained that his application had been rejected by the county. He stated that despite the county’s claim of requesting additional documents, he had not received any such communication. I immediately contact the county on his behalf to address this discrepancy. After waiting several hours on hold, a county case worker confirmed that they had indeed requested the documents, however the man reiterated there was no communication for additional documents. I insisted on speaking with a supervisor, who agreed to extend the deadline for the applicant to provide the necessary documents. He immediately forwarded the required paperwork to me, and within 15 minutes of my call with the county, the document were successfully uploaded into the system.

A few days later the applicant called to let me know that his case had been approved. He was thankful that he could depend on CCOC for the services that helped his family get the food they needed.

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