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

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

Call 211

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
  • Healthcare
  • Referrals for childcare

It is available in over 100 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


CalFresh

If your income has decreased or stopped, you can apply for CalFresh food benefits.

You can use CalFresh to help buy food grocery stores, farmers markets, and online. People and families with low income can apply for CalFresh any time.

Apply for CalFresh

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 or make you a public charge

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

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

If you lost your job because of COVID-19, 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. 

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 and migrant families can apply too.

Families get increased WIC fruits and vegetables benefits from June to September 2021.

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


School meals

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

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


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

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.

Students can still pick up to-go school meals even if they receive P-EBT benefits.

Getting P-EBT does not affect:

  • Other benefits you may be receiving
  • Your immigration status or make you a public charge

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. Families with eligible children will get P-EBT benefit cards in the mail.

What you can do:

  • 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

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

Older adults (aged 60+) who live on their own may be able to get prepared meals delivered to their home. Your income level does not matter.

To find a meal provider in your area, call 1-800-510-2020 or visit Find services in my county.

Find more services

More services are available to:

  • Older adults
  • Adults with disabilities
  • Family caregivers

Call 1-800-510-2020 or visit Find services in my county to get connected to more services in your area. 

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

Food boxes

Older adults (aged 60+) can get extra food boxes from some food banks to supplement their diets. 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.

California COVID-19 information hotline

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

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