CalFresh Assistance

  • Overview

    Food in the pantry, even when times are tough.

    CalFresh, federally known as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, supports the food needs of low-income households by providing a free food debit card. Individuals receive a monthly food subsidy on their debit card and can use it to purchase groceries from participating grocery stores and farmer’s markets. They can also purchase seeds and plants that produce food. Our coaches and Client Intake Specialists screen individuals to determine if they are likely eligible for this program and provide assistance with onsite application, document submission, and renewal.

    cal fresh assistance, by the numbers

    children in Marin live in food-insecure households
    seniors over 65 in Marin have annual incomes below the Federal Poverty Level of $11,670
    The average gross monthly income of households receiving CalFresh/SNAP benefits

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    Success Story

    Surviving To Thrive - Liz's Story

    When Liz finally left her physically abusive husband, taking her young son with her, she had no career, no experience, and no money.  Liz sought help and safety from Community Action Marin’s mental health programs.  In addition to wrapping her in encouragement and support, they referred her to Community Action Marin’s other programs for help applying for CalFresh benefits and finding a job.  She didn’t know where to start with CalFresh, but once she had the monthly benefits, it made a huge difference in her ability to provide for herself and her son.  Liz also received rental assistance and professional training and, in time, a terrific job offer from Community Action Marin, where she worked for 17 years.  Liz says she and her son have thrived living apart from her ex-husband.  Her son is now a college student about ready to begin a life on his own and Liz continues to feel gratitude for the opportunities and support she received from our agency.

  • FAQ

    How do CalFresh benefits work?

    CalFresh benefits are issued on an EBT card that works like a debit card. You can use it at most grocery stores and many farmers markets.

    How do I apply for CalFresh benefits?

    When you apply for services online or by phone, our Intake Specialist will ask you some questions to help determine whether your likely to be eligible.  If so, we’ll help you fill out the application right at our office.

    Does it cost money to apply?

    No. Applying for CalFresh is free.

    Will you do a background check or credit check when I apply?

    No.  Applying for CalFresh does not require a credit check or background check.

    How long does it take to get the benefits?

    It can take up to 30 days after you turn in your application to receive benefits.  After you submit your application, the county will interview you either by phone or in person.  Some households may be eligible for expedited/emergency SNAP, which are available in seven calendar days.  If you are in need of food in the meantime, tell our Intake Specialist; we may be able to provide a you an Emergency Food Box.

    If approved for CalFresh, how much would I get each month?

    The amount of CalFresh you get depends on many things, including your household’s size, income, and costs. The average CalFresh household gets over $300 each month.

    If you have any questions that aren’t answered above,
    please contact me so I can help you out.


    Heather Bettini
  • Get Started