The economy and outreach efforts have put nearly twice as many local residents on food stamps today than during 2007, according to the California Department of Social Services.
About 246,000 Sacramento-area residents participated in the state's food-stamp program, called CalFresh, during January, up from 139,000 in January 2007. Statewide, about 3.95 million residents participate in CalFresh. The average monthly benefit per person is roughly $150.
CalFresh is a federally-funded program, though the state does pay administrative costs. Participants must be legal U.S. residents who meet income and work requirements.
Advocates and state officials have recently taken steps to encourage enrollment, saying that the benefits bring money to California. In January, the state eliminated a requirement that CalFresh participants provide a photo and fingerprints. Still, many who are eligible for CalFresh don't apply; the state has historically had one of the lowest participation rates in the country.
This chart shows food stamp enrollment over time in the Sacramento region.