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October 26, 2020

CalFresh benefits now available to wildfire victims

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Starting today and running through Oct. 22, Disaster CalFresh food benefits may be available to residents impacted by the CZU August Lightning Complex wildfires. 

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Santa Cruz County is one of six wildfire-impacted counties (the others being Monterey, San Mateo, Solano, Lake and Yolo) currently operating a temporary Disaster CalFresh program.

A family of four with a monthly income up to $2,893, after taking disaster-related expenses into consideration, may be eligible to receive up to $646 in food benefits through the program. Individuals who might not otherwise qualify for CalFresh benefits may qualify for Disaster CalFresh.

Households already receiving regular CalFresh food benefits are not eligible to receive Disaster CalFresh food benefits.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Disaster CalFresh program will be operated primarily by phone.

Individuals and families who lived or worked in Santa Cruz County on Aug. 14 may be eligible for Disaster CalFresh benefits if the household experienced at least one of the following between Aug. 14 and Sept. 12 as a direct result of the wildfires:

  • At least one person in the household was not receiving regular CalFresh food benefits
  • Money was spent because of the wildfire or related power outage
  • Money was lost from work because of the wildfire
  • Money was spent because of damage to a home or business

Santa Cruz County residents can apply online at or call (888) 421-8080 Monday-Friday between 7:30am and 5pm. Paper applications can be dropped off at 18 West Beach St., Watsonville, or 1020 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz between 8am and 5pm, Monday-Friday.

After completing an interview, eligible applicants will be informed of where they can pick up their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card for Disaster CalFresh food benefits. An EBT card is similar to a debit card, which can be used to purchase food items at grocery stores and other authorized retailers.


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