When the Unexpected Happens

Written by Alicia Linares, Grant Writer

Brenetta is one of two CalFresh Outreach Coordinators at Community Food Bank and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work. She is married, with two children, and she and her husband own their home. Though they are now both working and able to provide for their family, there was a time when Brenetta and her husband had to reach out and receive help in the form of CalFresh benefits.

Five years prior to starting her position at Community Food Bank, Brenetta was a stay-at-home mom while her husband worked full-time. Suddenly, he lost his job. They didn’t know how they would provide for themselves and their two young children. Brenetta acted quickly and made an appointment with the Department of Social Services to apply for CalFresh. They were qualified, and soon started to receive $350 each month for groceries. With this help, Brenetta recalls that they always had enough money for food.

Having a bachelor’s degree, Brenetta also began searching for a job. With the means to pay for food, she could concentrate on her job search without the stress of how she would afford to feed her family. Brenetta utilized Workforce Connection, a job skills resource center, for help with resume writing and to improve her soft skills. She says that this training helped prepare her for a job, which she eventually found on her own. She was hired through AmeriCorps as a Volunteer Coordinator with the Girl Scouts.

“Thanks to food stamps, I didn’t have to worry about my family and I going hungry. I could search for a job knowing that we were taken care of,” says Brenetta.

While Brenetta found a job within six months, it took her husband more than a year to find a well-paying job. For one year, they used CalFresh benefits to purchase food for themselves and their children. Now, they are self-reliant and were even able to purchase their own home. Brenetta and her husband are both thankful that CalFresh helped them while they looked for jobs and that the long process was not as stressful as it could have been. Now, Brenetta is using her Social Work degree to help others apply for and enroll in CalFresh. She understands how much it helps, and how integral a role it plays in a family’s journey towards becoming self-sufficient.


For more information on CalFresh benefits, click here

“Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Do I buy my medicine or do I buy food?”

—Octavia, Sanger, CA

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