Letters to the Editor, May 10, 2019: CalFresh Awareness Month


CalFresh Awareness Month

To the Editor,

Eating healthy food is important to the intellectual, physical and emotional development of children. Conversely, household hunger can impede this development and increase the risk for obesity and diabetes. But eating healthy can be expensive, and when household budgets are tight, healthy food options are often replaced with less expensive and less nutritious options. Sustainable access to nutritional food is an important step to decreasing food insecurity.

For seniors and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), limited dollars and high housing cost can make purchasing food difficult. For the first time since 1974, this is changing. Starting this summer, SSI recipients may be eligible for CalFresh, enabling thousands of Santa Cruz County residents to increase their food budgets, facilitating access to nutritious food and helping to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Every May, counties across California celebrate CalFresh Awareness month to demonstrate the program’s benefits and help more people access this important nutritional supplement. CalFresh (formally known as food stamps) helps struggling families and individuals in California purchase healthy, nourishing food, including at farmers markets.

Many families and individuals may not realize they qualify for CalFresh. Applying for CalFresh has become easier: you can complete the CalFresh application in person, by phone or online (GetCalFresh.org).   

CalFresh is easy to use as nearly 60 percent of food retailers in Santa Cruz County accept payment through the CalFresh Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, including farmer’s markets in Watsonville, Felton, Westside Santa Cruz and Live Oak. During the month of May through the Market Match program, if you spend $10 purchasing fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets, you will receive $20 worth of produce. 

CalFresh helps prevent hunger and promotes health for children, families and the entire community.   

Director of Human Services Ellen Timberlake and Division Director Kimberly Peterson

Santa Cruz County

•••

How are you going to pay for that?

To the Editor,

I have a group of retired veteran friends, mostly Marine Corps officers.  Our consensus is that at least 40 percent of the “Defense” Budget is waste that could be cut without affecting our current readiness or deployments.  If you doubt this, ask any veteran.

Considering that our fiscal year 2019 “Defense” Budget is $686,074,048,000 (that’s billions), 40 percent of that is about $274,000,000,000 in waste per year.

It’s impossible to say how much the following would cost, but here are some suggestions as to what could be done with the savings:

• Free public college

• Full meaningful employment

• Medicare for all

• Free quality childcare

• Solarize the country

• Repair our infrastructure

• Pay down our national debt

Don Eggleston

Aptos

•••

Why did special graduates from the Watsonville area miss their special ceremony?

To the Editor,

Where were the seniors from the three Watsonville High Schools at the “College Signing Day” special celebration at the Santa Cruz Division Auditorium on Monday? Seats near the front of the cavernous Civic were occupied by several dozen students enjoying a performance by the Santa Cruz Dance Troupe. The event featured low-income and first-generation college-bound kids from all county high schools — except those from Watsonville: WHS, PVHS and Aptos High, all in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. What happened that they were not included? Not only were kids from Santa Cruz High, Harbor High and Soquel High in attendance, but other kids from Alisal High and Salinas High, as well as kids from the more remote Gonzales High and Soledad High, were also in attendance. Even some kids from Overfelt High and James Lick High in Santa Clara County made the trip. The hardworking, qualified students from these locations should have been included.

The backbone of this inspiring support service to many who need it the most was founded in 2014 by Michelle Obama, who appeared in a live-stream after an introduction by late-night host Conan O’Brien. Obama wore a Compton College sweatshirt and drove home that while in high school a guidance counselor had told her she was “not college material.” Look at her now!

Too bad talented graduates from the three public Watsonville High Schools somehow were not included in this valuable introduction to many others of the best and brightest — and least privileged in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Whose fault was this failing?

Richard Lynde

Watsonville

•••

Improving quality of life

To the Editor,

Simple-minded highway widening in order to get between unending parking lots is why we are now dealing with the consequences of allocating so much living space to accommodate an endless volume of cars. Rather than continuing to compromise quality of life (which presently also includes requiring an extra hour to get across the county), there are better alternatives which don’t waste millions and yet ensure safer travel that could have been implemented 50 years ago. This also will not involve making matters drastically worse during the months of construction. Please Google, “Public Transportation: If you build it (properly), they will come.”

Bob Fifield

Aptos

•••

Editor's Note: The Register-Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to the Register-Pajaronian, 100 Westridge Drive, Watsonville, CA 95076. Letters and columns may also be sent via email to [email protected]Letters should be less than 400 words, and columns are no more than 800 words. All letters and columns must be signed and have an address and phone number for confirmation purposes. We reserve the right to edit and condense all submissions.

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