Food Assistance

According to the California Association of Food Banks, California produces nearly half of the nation's fruits and vegetables, yet 1 in 4 Californians - that's about 10 million - currently struggle with food insecurity. 'Food insecurity' is the occasional or constant lack of access to the food one needs for a healthy, active life.

Food insecurity has serious impacts on an individual's well-being, which may result in poor school attendance and performance, lowered workplace productivity, and physical and mental health problems. Individuals struggling with food insecurity have to make tough decisions that no one should face. No family should have to decide between buying groceries or paying rent, no senior should have to choose between food and medicine, and no parent should have to skip a meal in order for their children to eat.

Available Programs

  • CalFresh
  • Food Distribution
  • Food Pantries

CalFresh

CalFresh also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), historically and commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, is designed to help meet the nutritional needs of people with low income. It supports healthy living which is important to agriculture in California and it is better viewed as a health and nutrition program. CalFresh may not be used for items such as liquor, cigarettes, household supplies, or hot foods. The CalFresh allotments are determined on a semi-annual basis utilizing income information received from the family.

While Food Stamps were once provided in coupon form, the state began delivering nutrition assistance benefits via EBT Cards (similar to ATM cards) in 1996. The EBT Program was implemented in Lake County on July 1, 2004. The cards are accepted at grocers and retailers throughout the State and across the country. The account balance is automatically adjusted according to purchases. The EBT system increases security and reliability of benefits, modernizes benefit redemption and reduces stigma attached to purchases made with paper coupons. 

There are several different financial assistance programs available to those who qualify. Our staff are happy to walk you through the options available. You can reach an Eligibility Specialist by calling 707-995-4200. For more information on ways to apply, view the Eligibility heading on this page.

To check your balance, visit the EBT Cardholder Portal.

Food Distribution

Many different entities across Lake County hold food distribution events throughout the month. Lake County Department of Social Services (LCDSS) does not manage any of these events or agencies. This content is for information only and is subject to change.

Food Distribution List in English and Spanish (PDF).

Food Pantries

Many different entities across Lake County hold food distribution events throughout the month. LCDSS does not manage any of these events or agencies. This content is for information only and is subject to change.

View the current Food Pantry List (PNG).

Eligibility

To start a CalFresh Application, all we need is your name, address, and signature. If you are applying for CalFresh, we will screen your application for expedited services and, if eligible, benefits will issue within three days of the date we receive your signed application.

These programs are available to those who meet eligibility requirements. Find out if you are eligible here:

  • Online at GetCalFresh or the BenefitsCal website
  • By phone:
    Toll Free: 800-628-5288
    Phone: 707-995-4200
    TTY: 711
    Monday through Friday
    8 am to 5 pm
  • In person:
    15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway
    Lower Lake, CA 95457
    Monday through Friday
    8 am to 5 pm
  • By mail application packets and a variety of forms in English and Spanish are available for pick up outside our lobby entrance without need to enter the lobby, and can be returned by:
    • Drop boxes located by the main doors and front gate
    • Fax: 707-995-4204
    • Mail to:
      P.O. Box 9000
      Lower Lake, CA 95457