Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno (CCDOF) has been open and serving the community in the best way possible throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with services such as food assistance, rent, mortgage, and PG&E assistance, CalFresh Healthy living, CalFresh Outreach (CFO), Rural Outreach, PG&E CARE/FERA program, DMV ID Vouchers, Diaper program, senior companion program, Disaster relief, and immigration services. Clients range from adults, teens, elderly, women, men, low-income families/individuals, and the homeless.
One of CCDOF’s greatest accomplishments is in serving the rural communities within Fresno County. CCDOF’s CalFresh Outreach program provides rural communities throughout Fresno county with CalFresh application assistance via rural outreach in Clovis, Kerman, Kingsburg, Mendota, Orange Cove, Parlier, and many more. The rural outreach is most beneficial to those who cannot visit CCDOF’s main site in Fresno due to distance and transportation issues. This program focuses on Central California's most poor and food-insecure rural areas. Families range from two individuals to eight in a household. CFO assisters provide clients with CalFresh prescreening, application assistance, and education about the Semi-Annual Report (SAR-7) process during food distributions in the rural communities. This one-on-one contact allows CFO assisters to meet with clients where they are at so they may ask further questions or voice any concerns. Families are also given information about Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) to assist with their eligibility questions. Each CalFresh application is then submitted at the CCDOF site using mybenefitscalwin.org or getcalfresh.org, depending on which county the client lives. All CalFresh applications are tracked and filed, and further tracking helps the CFO program identify when the clients will need to complete a SAR-7 report.
Partnering with the rural outreach program allows CFO assisters to speak with the clients as food is distributed each week in different parts of the community. Reaching these rural communities who are unable to come into the office has been a unique way of providing services and face-to-face contact during COVID-19.