Watch the Governor's news conference here.
(KION and CBSSF) Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new program to bring farmers and ranchers facing decreased produce demand together with food banks to help families in need at a news conference Wednesday.
Newsom reviewed the new program with FEMA to get restaurants back to work by providing meals to seniors in need and said the state would spearhead another new pact to connect businesses with community members in need.
“In that same spirit, in that same framework of collaboration and partnership, today we’re announcing a strategy to do the same around food, but now focusing on farms to families; focusing on the issues that are front and center all across the nation,” Newsom said. “And that’s this issue of food banks and how we can do more to support our farmers, help support farm workers and also help support food banks here in the state of California."
He said the partnership has about 138 farmers and ranchers providing food to 41 food banks being distributed in 58 counties right now. The goal, according to Newsom, is to provide 21 million pounds of fresh food every month to the state's food banks. He said the state has raised $3.6 million to get the program started.
The governor announced two more programs as well to provide resources and funds to families in need.
Newsom said that families who use the state's Cal Fresh program can now order food online through Amazon and Walmart, and he plans to extend the partnership to more vendors.
Funds will also be made available to families in need through a federal waiver obtained through House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's efforts, according to Newsom. It would provide money to families with children eligible for reduced cost or free meals at school, amounting to about 3.8 million children. He said the Pandemic EBT program would free up $1.4 billion for the children's families.
“The universe of available dollars is rather large and we just want to make sure it’s socialized,” Newsom said. “And we’re doing everything in our power to get that information out there and of course encourage others that may know people that fall under that category of being eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs to know that these dollars are available for them through the EBT program. And we’re going to do our best to get them in people’s pockets because we deeply recognize people’s food insecurity, not just their economic insecurity, and we don’t want to exacerbate that to the extent we can.”