There are food resources for Californians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this page:

Emergency food and food benefits

Food banks

Find a local food bank near you.

CalFresh food benefits

CalFresh provides food benefits to help people buy most foods at most grocery stores and farmers markets. People and families with low income can apply for CalFresh any time. If you have a change in income–even a temporary one because of COVID-19–you can apply for CalFresh food benefits.

To apply, visit CalFresh online or call 1‑877‑847‑3663 (1‑877‑847‑FOOD).

EBT cards work online

CalFresh benefits (sometimes called SNAP or food stamps) are issued on an EBT card each month. This card can be used to buy groceries online at Amazon, Walmart, and Aldi stores through Instacart. You can also shop online at Albertsons, Vons, and Safeway stores and pay with your EBT card at pickup. 

Temporary expanded eligibility for college students

Some students are eligible to receive CalFresh benefits to help pay for groceries. Learn more about the temporary changes to student eligibility and how to apply online.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food benefits

WIC helps families get access to healthy foods and a lot more. WIC serves babies and children up to age 5, pregnant women, and new mothers. Parents, grandparents, foster parents, or guardians can enroll children up to their 5th birthday. Working families and migrant families can apply too.

From June to September 2021, families receiving WIC will have a temporary increase in their monthly WIC fruits and vegetables benefit.

If you recently lost your job because of COVID-19, you can apply for WIC. You can also apply if your income has changed or you are unable to work, even temporarily due to COVID-19.

Visit, or call 1‑888‑942‑9675 (1‑888‑WIC‑WORKS) for more information.

Families with school-aged children

School meals and the ‘CA Meals for Kids’ app

Check your local school district for information on how and where to receive free or reduced-cost school meals.

The CA Meals for Kids app can help students and families find meals. The app is free and can be downloaded from Apple’s App StoreGoogle’s Play Store, and Microsoft’s App Store.

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school can get extra benefits to help buy food when schools are closed due to COVID-19. These food benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT. Families with children age 6 and under that receive CalFresh food benefits are also eligible. Students can still pick up to-go school meals even if they receive P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT does not:

  • Require sign-up or an application
  • Affect other benefits you may be receiving
  • Impact immigration or make the recipient a public charge

School-aged children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if they were:

  • Enrolled at a school participating in the National School Breakfast or Lunch Program, 
  • Eligible for free or reduced-reduced price meals during the 2020-2021 school year, and
  • Attended school via distance learning for at least some of the 2020-2021 school year.

Young children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if they were:

  • Six years old or younger,
  • Part of a household getting CalFresh food benefits, and
  • Living in a county where at least one school facility was closed or was limiting in-person instruction.

P-EBT cards

Cards are mailed directly to families with eligible children. Make sure your child’s school has their most current mailing address on file. There is no application for P-EBT.

For more information, visit the California Department of Social Services’ Pandemic-EBT page or call the P-EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677 (M-F, 6 am to 8 pm).

Older adults

Home-delivered meals for older adults

Older adults (aged 60+) who live on their own may be able to receive prepared meals delivered to their home, regardless of income level.

To find a meal provider in your area, call 1-800-510-2020 or visit Find Services in My County.

Food bank food for older adults

Older adults (aged 60+) can get a box of nutritious food to help supplement their diets through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). These food banks distribute CSFP boxes. Call the food bank in your area for more information on receiving CSFP boxes.

California COVID-19 information hotline

The California COVID-19 hotline connects older adults to state and local services and resources. You can also get answers to general questions about COVID-19.

Call 833‑422‑4255 (833‑4CA‑4ALL) for assistance (M-F, 8 am to 8 pm, and Sat-Sun, 8 am to 5 pm).


211 is a free and confidential information and referral service that connects people to local resources. It is available in more than 100 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you need assistance finding food or other essential services, call 211 to speak to someone who can help.

Find more services

More services and supports are available to:

  • Older adults
  • Adults with disabilities
  • Family caregivers

To connect with more services and supports in your local area, call 1-800-510-2020 or visit Find Services in My County.

Learn more about programs and services available from the California Department of Aging.

Great Plates Delivered

The Great Plates Delivered program ended on July 9, 2021. The Great Plates program provided older adults with daily meals delivered to their homes from local restaurants. This program helped seniors stay safe at home during the pandemic.

Home-delivered meals

If you still need home-delivered meals, there are other meal delivery programs available. Call 1‑800‑510‑2020 to get help finding a meal delivery program in your local area.