Informing Diverse Populations About Food Benefits in California

Throughout the pandemic, many Californians experienced workplace hardships through lost jobs or decreased hours, but sign-ups for food benefits were not increasing. We worked with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to research why Californians weren’t taking advantage of CalFresh Food benefits and develop messages that dispelled myths and misperceptions about CalFresh. We uncovered four key audiences who each had specific reasons for not using food benefits and created messages that addressed their specific concerns.

Single Young Adults: It’s Only Temporary

Many young adults took on additional side hustles and worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. They believed that their situation was only temporary, and often, that they didn’t qualify for CalFresh Food benefits. Our ad “Fuel Your Future” explains that they qualify even if they’re working and shows how easy signing up can be. It also tells them that using food benefits can be temporary.


Adults with Families: Working Through Rough Patches

Adults with families thought they were supposed to work through rough patches, and because they had possessions like cars and homes, they didn’t need benefits. Our ad “Modern Benefits” addresses their concerns by explaining that today’s food benefits are for those who are working less or got laid off and can be used any time finances are tighter.



LatinX Young Adults and Older Adults: Getting Family Support

Many LatinX young adults and families relied on their relatives to help support them during tough times. They also worked multiple jobs to help make ends meet and didn’t want the government to get involved in their lives. Our ad “My Turn” features a Spanish-speaking young adult and mother who discuss how CalFresh Food benefits can increase their financial independence and provides additional information on who qualifies.


Evaluation Survey Findings

As part of our evaluation, we collected 577 online surveys from SNAP-eligible Californians throughout the state. We’re proud to report:

  • Campaign awareness was high at 77%, exceeding the CDC’s benchmark of 75%, particularly high among Spanish speakers.
  • 84% of respondents believed the ads made using CalFresh Food benefits seem easy.
  • 78% agreed that the ads helped them recognize CalFresh is not just for people who don't have any work at all.

If you’d like to learn more about how Rescue Agency can help you inform your community about available government services, please contact us.


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