To assist families in the County most vulnerable to hungerThe County's Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) is putting the final touches on the May observance of "CalFresh Awareness Month," the most comprehensive and coordinated effort to increase access and participation in food assistance and reduce food insecurity in the second largest and most populated County in the nation. At the Tuesday, April 26 Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Michael Antonovich led the Board in announcing a series of community events and activities to bring public awareness to CalFresh--the supplemental nutrition food benefit formally known as Food Stamps. It has been estimated that only half of those eligible in L.A. County are reportedly receiving the benefits. The month-long public awareness effort is a collaboration by DPSS, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), California Department of Social Services, and over 25 community partners to educate residents and reach those most vulnerable to hunger. The partnership has brainstormed for months on a variety of strategies to heighten public awareness about the issue. According to the USDA, the number of homes lacking adequate food has more than tripled in the last four years. As a result, the agency noted in its report on food insecurity that hunger negatively impacts the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of children. The month-long outreach will include the "Your Benefits Now" Online Applications, an alternative to applying in person for much-needed assistance, and the release of television and radio PSAs featuring national civil rights advocate for the poor, Delores C. Huerta, and four-time WNBA champion, Tina Thompson of the Los Angeles Sparks. The outreach will also include the strategic deployment of DPSS' Health and Nutrition Mobile Office to farmers markets and non-traditional locations throughout the County. "Now more than ever--to prevent hunger due to the current state of the economy--it's our goal to increase the number of eligible L.A. County residents who need the assistance to take the next step and apply," said DPSS Director Philip L. Browning. "We hope this campaign shines a spotlight on the critical role CalFresh plays to help folks struggling to make ends meet keep nutritious food on their tables." For more information on DPSS benefits, log onto http://dpss.lacounty.gov/.