Many clients come to Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno (CCDOF) seeking CalFresh Food assistance. This story is about a woman and her elderly mother who had come into the agency seeking assistance, brought to the agency by a friend from at a local church. As the two women sat together waiting for the intake process, they began to share bits of pieces of how they ended up in Fresno. The woman shared that she was a victim of domestic violence and that she had to leave Florida with her elderly mother. She shared that they had nothing to her name and that they were homeless. The local church that she had been in contact with was able to connect them with a motel voucher.
The women were screened for food, clothing, hygiene, DMV vouchers, and CalFresh benefits. Although their circumstances were difficult, the two women shared much joy and gratitude during the entire intake process. The women were concerned about the CalFresh application process. However, they felt reassured once the CalFresh Outreach Assisters explained the program and answered their questions. They were also given materials with information about the SAR 7 recertification process so that they knew that they come back for help maintaining their benefits. Once the intake process was over, the two women showed immense gratitude. As the two women walked over to CCDFR’s onsite thrift store and food pantry, the friend who brought them stayed by the intake window and shared that although the two women have been through a rough situation, they are hopeful and happy to be able to start fresh.
After a couple of months passed by, the two women returned to received additional services such as food and clothing. The CalFresh Outreach specialist immediately recognized and greeted them, and they shared how happy they were to see each other again. The women were still staying at a motel, but are waiting for housing. They also shared that CalFresh benefits had tremendously helped them out with food expenses and helped them survive their tough times.
Although CalFresh has positively impacted many families, this story shows how important CalFresh Food benefits are especially to those needing the critical assistance to survive. CCDOF will support these clients in the future with maintaining their benefits as needed.