In 2003, San Francisco became the first county in California to offer hot meals to homeless, elderly and disabled men and women through the Restaurant Meals Program.
CalFresh benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps, are issued to very low income people to cover their basic food costs. These benefits are issued on a Golden State Advantage card, which functions like a credit card. Traditionally, food stamp benefits could only be used to buy food that is not prepared or cooked. However, San Francisco's Restaurant Meals Program allows seniors (60+), homeless or disabled persons to use their CalFresh benefits at restaurants. This program is designed so that people who have no access to kitchens or storage, or who have difficulty preparing food, can eat hot meals in restaurants like yours.
Running a successful neighborhood restaurant can be very challenging. The Restaurant Meals program offers a way to grow your customer base and to serve your community at the same time. Currently, there are over 10,000 San Franciscans eligible to use their CalFresh benefits at participating restaurants. Right now, nearly 70 restaurants are participating in the program, and they earn, collectively, more than $175,000 per month in CalFresh dollars. By participating, you will bring revenue into your restaurant and into your neighborhood while helping neighborhood residents.
Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to get involved with the San Francisco Restaurant Meals Program.