There are food benefits and resources for Californians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food help is available to everyone who needs it, whether you are working or not.
On this page:
- Immediate food help
- Women, infants, and children (WIC)
- School meals
- Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) for children
- Home-delivered meals for older adults
Immediate food help
Find your local food bank
If you need food now, you can get help from your local food bank. Many food banks can connect you with free groceries or a hot meal.
Contact your local food bank for a list of places you can get food in your area.Find a food bank near you
If you need help finding food or other essential services, call 211 to speak to someone who can help.
211 is a free and confidential helpline that connects you to local resources like:
- Affordable housing or shelter
- Cash assistance
- Referrals for childcare
It is available in over 100 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If your income has decreased or stopped, you can apply for CalFresh food benefits.
You can use CalFresh to help buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets, and online. People and families with low income can apply for CalFresh any time.
You can also call 1‑877‑847‑3663 (1‑877‑847‑FOOD) to apply.
Getting CalFresh does not affect:
- Other benefits you may be receiving
- Your immigration status
EBT cards work online
Your CalFresh benefits (sometimes called SNAP or food stamps) are issued on an EBT card each month.
Use your EBT card to buy groceries online at:
Shop online and pay at pickup with your EBT card at:
More information about using EBT cards
- Check the frequently asked questions about using EBT online.
- Find which stores offer home delivery or pickup using EBT.
- See all participating Albertsons, Vons, and Safeway locations.
Temporary expanded eligibility for college students
Some college students are eligible to receive CalFresh benefits to help buy groceries. Learn more about the temporary changes to student eligibility.Apply for CalFresh for students
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 under age 5. Working families, including military and migrant families, can apply too.
- Benefits to buy healthy foods like:
- Peanut butter
- Soy milk
- Experts who specialize in nutrition for mothers and children
- Support and information about breastfeeding your baby, including access to breastfeeding experts
- Help in finding healthcare and other services
Families get new, increased WIC fruits and vegetables benefits through September 2022.
If you lost your job recently, you can apply for WIC. You can also apply if your income has decreased, or if you are unable to work, even temporarily, due to COVID-19.
Check your local school district to find out how and where to get free or reduced-cost school meals.
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) for children
Children can get Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits that help their families buy food.
Children may be eligible for P-EBT if they are:
- Eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school, or
- Under age 6 and getting CalFresh food benefits
Families do not need to sign-up or submit an application to get P-EBT. Information from other programs determines if your child is eligible.
- Make sure your child’s school has their current mailing address on file
- Apply for free or reduced-price meals through your child’s school
- Apply for CalFresh
Getting P-EBT does not affect:
- Other benefits you may be receiving
- Your immigration status or make you a public charge
P-EBT cards work the same as CalFresh EBT cards. You can use them to buy food at most grocery stores, farmers markets, and online.
If your child already has a P-EBT card, it will be reloaded with up to $375 in December 2021.
For children that are newly eligible for P-EBT, cards will be mailed out in December 2021. Each child gets a separate card. Cards are mailed out based on age and alphabetical order by first name.
Visit the P-EBT website for more information about this program.
If you need help, call the P-EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677 (M-F, 6 am to 8 pm).
Home-delivered meals for older adults
You can get home-delivered meals if you’re:
- Age 60 or older, and
- Frail or homebound due to illness or disability, or otherwise isolated
Your income level does not affect your eligibility to receive meals.
If you’re eligible to receive meals, your household members may also be able to get meals. This includes:
- Your spouse, even if they are under age 60
- Household members with a disability
To find a meal provider:
- Call 1-800-510-2020. This automated line connects you to the phone line for services in your county. It is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
- Find the phone number for your county on this list and call it to get connected.
Find more services
More services are available to:
- Older adults
- Adults with disabilities
- Family caregivers
To learn more:
- Call 1-800-510-2020
- Find your county’s phone number on this list
- Check the programs and services available from the California Department of Aging
Food boxes for older adults
If you’re 60 or older, you can get extra food boxes from some food banks to supplement your diet. These food banks distribute food boxes. Call the listed food bank in your area to get a box.
Great Plates Delivered
The Great Plates Delivered program ended on July 9, 2021. This program delivered meals from local restaurants to older adults. This program helped seniors stay safe at home during the pandemic.
Call the California COVID-19 information hotline
If you need help finding food, call California’s COVID-19 information hotline at 833-422-4255.
The hotline is open M-F, 8 am to 8 pm, and Sat-Sun, 8 am to 5 pm.
Call the hotline for:
- Help connecting to essential services in your area
- Answers to general questions about COVID-19