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California Emergency Benefits to End Causing Severe Benefits Cliff

From the California Association of Food Banks:

California losing one-third of meals in food safety net when Pandemic-related food-aid ends.

On March 26, CalFresh recipients received their last Emergency Allotment, which had provided a critical boost to their benefits throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The end of these Emergency Allotments means a $500 million cut to food assistance statewide — each month. Many households, including single older adults, are beginning to face the unbelievable cliff from $281 a month to just $23, the current minimum benefit allotment.

The Emergency Allotments’ abrupt end, combined with the skyrocketing cost of food, has caused a dramatic and unprecedented benefits cliff.

Additionally, Pandemic EBT benefits — which provide funds for low income families to buy groceries for 4.2 million children —  is ending after this summer. We are grateful for the newly authorized Summer EBT program for families that will begin in 2024, as announced in December, but it will not offset the huge gap caused by the end of CalFresh Emergency Allotments and P-EBT. Food banks alone will not be able to make up for the nearly 3.1 billion meals that will be lost within California’s food safety net, and we are urging Congress and California leaders to take critical action.


Founders Award Winner Larry Evans

Helping Hands Group had the honor of recognizing a very important member of the team during April’s packing day.  Larry Evans was awarded the Founders Award for his dedication and selfless sacrifice to Helping Hands throughout the past couple of years. He was also promoted to Vice President and is recognized for his additional responsibilities. Helping Hands is very blessed to have Larry on the team. He is the first one to arrive at packing day and is the last to leave. During packing events, he is encouraging to the volunteers and makes everyone feel welcome. Behind the scenes, Larry is busy organizing distribution events and communicating effectively to all volunteers. Want to know more about our Founders Award winner? We were able to chat with Larry about his dedication to helping his neighbors in need.

Larry! We are so thankful to have you on the Helping Hands Team. Congratulations on this well deserved award. How long have you been volunteering with Helping Hands?

Going on three (3) years now. I started back in June of 2020. 

Wow! Three years and going strong. How did you get connected with Helping Hands?

Back in early 2020 at a Celebrate Recovery Leader meeting. We needed to see who would be interested in helping out with a food pantry called Helping Hands. This was something that made sense to me to serve and to give back to our community and it tied into my own 12-Step recovery program  that we can then give back to our Church or to our community. I was already serving at Canyon Lake Community Church on the Hosting team so I felt led to raise my hand and the rest is history.

That’s right, the rest is history and we are so glad you decided to raise your hand that one night. Where have you seen the most growth in Helping Hands Group over the years?

Our Volunteers. The amazing increased numbers of volunteers we have seen over the last 2-3 years has also helped to meet the ever increasing demand to serve more people in need.

What a blessing it is to have the needs of Helping Hands met through our volunteers. What do you find most rewarding?

Our newcomers. Seeing the newcomers who show up excited and leave feeling they made a difference in this world is very rewarding to me. That was me then in 2020 and still is today.

Yes! That is a great point. When they leave feeling rewarded, new volunteers become regulars! Where do you see the need in our community today?

Providing Service Opportunities to those who want to serve – This is essential to our mission. Community Outreach events is ongoing. Getting the word out that Helping Hands is there to provide service opportunities to many so we can provide food security for those in need. 

Got to get the word out there. That is a very important insight. Final question, you’ve got leave us with a fun fact about yourself!

I love hiking with my wife and daughters where we hit the trails and all I hear is the earth crumbling beneath my hiking boots. That’s the best sound in the world for me. Being in the Information Technology realm for over 25+ years, I love to get off the grid / matrix completely as often as I can.

Very awesome Larry! Thank you so much for your dedication to helping your neighbors in need!


The Fruits of Your Kindness

Thank you to all of our supporters in these past few weeks! We have already delivered many blankets to our seniors and orders are still coming in. Donations are open on our website. You can make a difference. Thank you!

Help Our Seniors Stay Warm

Utility bills, especially natural gas bills are devastating our local seniors.  Many are struggling to put food on the table and now keeping warm will become a luxury. They need your help. You can purchase a warm blanket at ShopHelpingHands.us and we will deliver to a Senior in Need.  Additionally, you can purchase a blanket and drop it off at our collection sites:

Canyon Lake Community Church

Pack Wrap & Ship in the Canyon Lake Town Center

Canyon Lake Mobile Golf Cart Repair in Lake Elsinore

Help us help them.

A Helping Hands Christmas

December 2022 was a wonderful month full of events for Helping Hands. Our distribution teams set out each week and delivered hundreds of bags of food to our neighbors in need. Not only did the bags have food, but also socks thanks to our very successful Socktober sock drive! On the second Saturday of December, our volunteers came together and packed food. Helping Hands provided cookies, donuts, and Christmas music as our volunteers worked. During our packing event, we had our annual toy drive, Toys from the Heart. Members of our community donated their lightly used toys to give to children who needed a little magic this Christmas season. We also had a special guest, the man himself, Mr. Claus! He brought cheer to our day and helped gather toys. Another wonderful blessing came from Bolder Electric. They donated 10 brand new bikes. The sounds of joy and laughter from the children warmed our hearts.  We cannot thank our supporters and volunteers enough for making December 2022 one to remember.