Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Stephanie M. McMurtrie


SNAP, which federally stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is formerly known as food stamps, and is now recognized as CalFresh in California. CalFresh is a food supplemental assistance program that provides financial assistance for low-income individuals (Feeding America, 2014). In 2013, Santa Cruz County ranked thirty-nine out of fifty-eight counties in CalFresh participation, with 23,355 income-eligible non-participants (CFPA, 2016). By increasing eligible participants for the CalFresh program, low-income individuals could potentially face less stress and financial hardships, since CalFresh could add to an individual’s food budget. Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County’s department of Community Outreach implemented the project of surveying Santa Cruz County residents with the purpose of identifying barriers to CalFresh participation. Expected outcomes included increased awareness of community thoughts and feelings, regarding CalFresh. In order to determine why CalFresh participation in Santa Cruz County is so low, surveys were conducted at six different sites. Survey results showed that around 11 percent of seniors do not qualify under the income guidelines for CalFresh. 12 percent of Cabrillo College students indicated unawareness of CalFresh as a barrier. Overall, 10 percent of respondents stated they would like to apply for CalFresh. Recommendations for SHFB includes expanding efforts to increase awareness about CalFresh, specifically to college students, seniors, and low-income families, such as conveying messages to Santa Cruz County residents through the radio, television, newspapers, public service announcements, and verbally. Recommendations also includes presenting data of barriers to CalFresh participation at collaborative meetings with Health and Human Services agencies.