The Department of Motor Vehicles will begin the process of creating the program to issue the ‘Imagine No Hunger’ license plates upon receipt of 7,500 pre-paid applications.
The Need for a California ‘Imagine No Hunger’ Specialty Plate
Every day in California, nearly 1 in 8 households face food insecurity, defined as the occasional or constant lack of access to the food one needs for a healthy, active life. For the 6.5 million Californians struggling with food insecurity, hard choices must be made between buying food and meeting such basic needs as housing, medicine, transportation, or childcare. Food insecurity disproportionately affects children and seniors, and tragically, 1 out of every 4 California kids may go to bed hungry each night. While the impact of hunger is not always obvious, its effects are present in nearly all of our communities and classrooms on a daily basis.
Despite strong support, food banks cannot yet offer a proportional response to the vast need for food among Californians. According to the national food bank organization Feeding America, Californians are lacking over 1 billion meals annually, and at an average retail cost of $2.80 per meal, it would take over $3 billion to create food security in our state.
Fortunately, food banks are able to take advantage of donated foods and economies of scale to cut those costs dramatically.
The California Association of Food Banks estimates that hunger in California could be eliminated with an investment of $300-500 million dollars annually. – If 10 million California drivers purchased the ‘Imagine No Hunger’ specialty plate – hunger would be eliminated from the state!
The CDSS is working with CAFB to address hunger issues in California
The creation of a new California ‘Imagine No Hunger’ special Interest license plate to address the need for hunger relief in California will have many benefits to hungry Californians, food banks, and the state itself, including:
- Increased awareness of hunger issues in the state.
- A meaningful recurring revenue source of funds to address hunger in California.
- No cost to the state of California to create or market the plate; all costs are covered by revenue generated from purchasers of the special interest plate.
California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) is a membership organization representing 42 food banks from throughout the state with a shared mission to build a well-nourished California, and a firm commitment to providing cutting-edge leadership in the anti-hunger community. Major programs include Farm to Family, which works with growers and packers to provide fresh produce to food banks; statewide programs for SNAP outreach and enrollment; robust state and federal advocacy efforts; produce and nutrition education; and, member services that provide technical assistance and engage members in special projects to reduce the prevalence and consequences of food insecurity in California.
Over the past year, CAFB has worked with its members and partners to:
- Distribute 140 million pounds of fresh produce to those in need;
- Secure over $7.25 million in funding for our member food banks;
- Reach over 180,000 people through nutrition education programs focused on promoting consumption of fresh produce;
- Provide CalFresh (food stamp) information and application assistance to over 100,000 households; and,
- Successfully advocate for major changes in CalFresh operations that have boosted participation by 13 percentage points.
Food banks play a critical role in California’s food safety net, reaching over two million people in need annually, including children, seniors, the working poor, disabled, homeless and veterans. Using creativity and innovation, along with careful stewardship of resources, food banks in California have developed models of food procurement, food distribution, and nutrition education that are replicated nationally. Today, California food banks not only distribute food through traditional methods such as community pantries and soup kitchens, but also operate such innovative programs as school pantries, back pack programs for children, senior brown bags, farmer’s market style distributions, and programs for people with special dietary needs, such as diabetics.
CDSS is eligible to sponsor a specialized license plate program to promote its work with respect to supporting food banks and helping to end hunger in California. The creation of a new California specialized license plate to address the need for further hunger relief in California will have many benefits for five million food insecure Californians, food banks, and the state itself. Specifically, funds raised will be expended to support:
a. Increased awareness of hunger issues in the state
b. Directly address major hunger issues in California
CDSS intends to work with the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB), a membership organization representing over 40 food banks throughout the state that collectively provide food to 6,000 community-based organizations and to two million Californians in need. The license plate funds will go to help address the existing shortfall in funding for hunger relief in California.
CAFB’s major programs include Farm to Family, which works with growers and packers to provide fresh produce to food banks; produce and nutrition education; and member services that provide technical assistance and engage members in special projects to reduce the prevalence and consequences of food insecurity in California. For more than a decade, CAFB has been the largest contractor with the state of California for CalFresh Outreach, and currently supports 50 community-based organizations in 31 counties to connect eligible people with CalFresh benefits. CAFB regularly consults with CDSS on matters related to the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program, California’s State Emergency Food Assistance program, disaster relief, drought relief, and other antihunger efforts.
Revenues generated by the specialized license plate program will be allotted to CAFB for distribution to its member food banks to address hunger issues in their respective counties. Funds will be used to purchase food and support hunger relief programs.
California Motor Vehicle Code Section 5159 limits to 25 percent of total revenues, CDSS’ annual expenditures for the administrative costs, marketing, or other promotional activities associated with encouraging application for, or renewal of, the specialized plates. CAFB will be responsible for promotional activities associated with the specialized plates and will not exceed the 25 percent maximum, including any administrative costs for activities associated with the specialized plates incurred by CDSS.
The proposed specialized license plate includes the iconic John Lennon self-portrait image, authorized by Yoko Ono Lennon, which provides a powerful symbol of his humanitarian legacy, raising awareness to the need to address hunger in our state and providing an image that will promote significant funding to help end hunger in California.