- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The name Food Stamps, used for more than 40 years, was officially retired by Congress in 2008, and the program became known nationally as "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program," or SNAP. However, California officials determined SNAP didn't test well with focus groups.
CalFresh was designed to capture the essence of the state and its position as a world leader in agribusiness, according to a California Department of Social Services news release. In the logo, the wording is bisected by a graphic representing the healthy fruit and vegetables produced in California.
CDSS said the transition to "CalFresh" will be a slow process, with changes to forms, documents and outreach materials taking place over time.
The University of California operates a Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program, commonly known as FSNEP, in 35 California counties. FSNEP educators aim to increase the likelihood that people eligible for the federal nutrition program in California make healthy food choices and choose physically active lifestyles.California FSNEP director David Ginsburg said FSNEP was holding out for the renaming of the California program before updating the UC program's name.
"It did not make a lot of sense to change it to align with SNAP and then again once the California name was announced," Ginsburg said.
UC-FSNEP will receive $8.1 million in federal funds this fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2010 - Sept. 30, 2011), an increase of about $1 million over last year, Ginsburg said. Last year the program reached 220,000 California recipients of federal food benefits.
More than 3 million low-income Californians receive nutrition assistance benefits in any given month, but analysts say only half of the state's residents eligible for the assistance receive it.
"CalFresh benefits are very important for so many families who are challenged with food insecurity," Ginsburg said. "By bringing forward a new image and message, hopefully those participating in CalFresh will feel more empowered and also force needed reform with the old Food Stamp program."