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RIVERSIDE COUNTY – Riverside County households that are eligible for CalFresh benefits may have noticed extra dollars on their electronic benefits transfer card Sunday, Nov. 15, days before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The CalFresh Program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, improves the health and well-being of recipients by supporting access to healthy food. The extra benefits also help the community. For every CalFresh dollar spent, $1.79 is generated in local economic activity, according to the California Department of Social Services.

The state is working to ease economic hardships from the coronavirus pandemic and will issue its eighth supplemental benefit since April. The extra dollars will be automatically deposited Sunday onto customers’ EBT cards for those who are eligible.

Qualified households can receive the maximum CalFresh benefit. For example, a household of two that typically receives $53 in CalFresh benefits could be temporarily eligible to receive the monthly maximum of $374.

Since April, the state has dispersed nearly $100 million to nearly 77,000 eligible households in Riverside County.

The average customer received an extra $190 in October.

“Those extra dollars can help a struggling family or senior enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and keep healthy, nutritious food on the table,” Allison Gonzalez, program director over Self-Sufficiency at the county’s Department of Public Social Services, said. Customers can apply at http://GetCalFresh.org or by calling the DPSS Customer Service Center at 1-877-410-8827.

CalFresh customers can now use their EBT cards to buy groceries online at participating Albertsons and Vons locations. Since April, Amazon and Walmart have accepted EBT cards for online grocery purchases.

Various restaurants across Riverside County also accept EBT for customers who qualify and locations can be found at http://dpss.co.riverside.ca.us/self-sufficiency/restaurant-meals-program-landing. Additionally, many farmers markets across Riverside County accept EBT cards, and many will match each dollar spent up to $10 per family, allowing customers to double their spending.

“Purchasing food from farmers markets, at online grocery sites and at local restaurants are ways for families to have greater access to healthy produce, warm meals and safe, convenient shopping from home,” Gonzalez said.

To learn more, including which farmers markets accept EBT cards, visit http://dpss.co.riverside.ca.us/files/images/dpss4659-farmers-market.pdf.

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