SparkPoint Table

Skyline College hosted a first of its kind event on Monday, May 12, 2014 during which eligible students and community members who resided in San Mateo or San Francisco Counties accomplished the following in one day:

  • Apply for CalFresh (Food Stamps)
  • Submit verification documents
  • Complete an eligibility interview
  • Receive an eligibility determination
  • Obtain an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card
  • Select a pin number
  • Receive a free bag of groceries

Iliana Rodriguez, San Mateo County Human Services Agency Director, provided a keynote address during which she highlighted the ingenuity of our community partners to host an event which increased access to food assistance in a way which had never been done before.

Second Harvest Food BankA certified nutritionist provided a demonstration on how to prepare “veggie tortilla roll-ups” repeatedly throughout the event and provided samples to participants. Regardless of eligibility status, each individual who attended the event walked away with a grocery bag filled with ingredients included in the “veggie tortilla wraps,” as well as the following items: tomatoes, romaine lettuce, black olives, whole wheat tortillas, cream cheese, green chilies, bell peppers, cucumber, green beans, mixed fruit, corn, corn flakes, spaghetti, rice, canned tuna, and pinto beans.

Skyline College Financial Aid Office, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, San Francisco Food Bank, San Mateo County Human Services Agency, and SparkPoint at Skyline College set up resource tables with information about their services for students and community members who attended the event.

A Skyline College photographer took pictures during the event to capture the excitement of individuals, who for the first time ever, had the ability to apply for and receive CalFresh benefits in the same day. Furthermore, under SparkPoint at Skyline College’s leadership, San Mateo and San Francisco County Human Services Agencies collaborated for the first time on an initiative which transcended typically intransigent county boarders and policies. SparkPoint at Skyline College hopes that the event’s success will serve as an impetus for future collaborations among agencies that perform similar functions in our community.

The abovementioned partners collectively assisted twenty-three individuals with completing CalFresh applications, and ten individuals walked away with EBT cards in hand. These ten individuals were able to leave campus with a debit card which they could use to purchase groceries for themselves and their families. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of these committed partners, students and community members were able to easily access a resource which is typically laden with red tape and exorbitant paperwork.

Article by Heather Smith  | Photos by Claudia Paz