NPI researchers speak on the ending of the COVID-era SNAP benefit increases

May 8, 2023

In April 2023, CalFresh (California's version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits were reduced for over 3 million program participants due to the ending of COVID emergency increases. Nutrition Policy Institute researchers Wendi Gosliner and Samantha Sam-Chen were featured in a University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources article in English and Spanish and a video interview to recognize inadequacies of the benefit amount. Gosliner points out that many CalFresh participants are eligible for other safety net programs, some of which they may not be accessing. “With the high cost of living, ongoing inflation and extreme income and wealth disparities, people are being forced to explore every possible avenue just to feed themselves and their families,” she said. In the video interview, Sam-Chen encourages CalFresh participants to utilize other nutrition assistance programs designed to supplement benefit amounts, specifically California's Market Match Program. The Market Match Program is administered at farmers markets and gives CalFresh shoppers a dollar-for-dollar match, from $10 to $15 dollars, to buy local fruits and vegetables. Sam-Chen, whose research evaluates MarketMatch, explained that “..con ese dinero adicional, pueden comprar más frutas y verduras,” in English, “...with that additional money, they [participants] can purchase more fruits and vegetables.” Both voices from the Nutrition Policy Institute expressed concerns about families losing critical funds to feed their families at this time, and noted that CalFresh participants may be eligible for other supporting programs to help them feed their families in the context of the benefit cuts. The article titled “UC ANR experts offer counsel as CalFresh benefits shrink, participants face hunger” was written by Mike Hsu, UC ANR senior public information representative. It was also featured as a FarmProgress news article titled “UC offers counsel as CalFresh benefits shrink” on April 20, 2023.

By Katherine Lanca
Author - Graduate Student
By Danielle L. Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Wendi Gosliner
Editor - Project scientist
By Samantha Sam-Chen