Use of EBT, CalFresh expanded during COVID-19; senior nutrition receives funding – Red Bluff Daily News

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RED BLUFF — Tehama County Social Services Executive Director Laura Williams had good news for Tehama County residents April 28 — EBT and CalFresh have increased purchasing options that now include online shopping.

The news comes on the heels of information about additional funding and expanded services for the Senior Nutrition Program that Williams brought to the Board of Supervisors April 21.

“I just wanted to make an announcement in terms of extra benefits that are coming to our Tehama County residents,” Williams said. “As of today, April 28, folks receiving Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or CalFresh are able to do online purchasing in California for two retailers: Amazon and Walmart. Amazon takes CalFresh EBT and Walmart takes CalFresh and CalWorks Cash Assistance EBT.”

Prior to April 28, there were laws prohibiting California residents from using benefits online because of the delivery fee charged. While free delivery is available for orders of $35 or more, CalFresh and CalWorks EBT participants will have to use some other method to pay for the delivery fee if an order is less than $35, Williams said. Those who have issues can call the customer service number on the back of their card or 527-1911.

“This is really exciting,” Williams said. “We’ve wanted it for a long time. It gives them a little bit more opportunity and encourages them to say home. We hope this helps them get assistance in getting a little more food into their homes.”

Use of services like Instacart and Door Dash isn’t permitted yet, as they charge fees, but the county will let residents know if that changes, Williams said. Williams said she was unsure if there was much of a presence of those services in Tehama County.

Senior Nutrition participants will see an expansion of services thanks to an amendment in a contract with Chico State Enterprises on behalf of the Area 3 Agency on Aging. The amendment provides funding, some of which will be used on vehicle purchases.

“What I am presenting today is a wonderful thing,” Williams said. “This contract provided $80,000 as an amendment to a current contract that will allow us to bolster our current program in two ways. It will allow us to replace two vans at their very end; $50,000 will go to purchase the two vehicles. The rest of the funding we actually hope to bolster the current population by providing frozen meals on weekends where we are currently delivering.

One of the vans being replaced is 12 years old and the replacement allows the program to expand home delivery to seniors on a wait list.

Some of the funding will allow senior nutrition to provide more resources to Tehama County Juvenile Hall to cover the cost of preparing meals during the Public Safety Power Shutoffs and for oven repairs.

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