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Restaurant Meals Program Available for Qualified CalFresh Customers

For Immediate Release

March 19, 2020

Contact: Gene Kennedy
Senior Public Information Specialist
(951) 203-0343


Restaurant Meals Program Available for Qualified CalFresh Customers  

Participating restaurants can help qualified elderly, disabled and homeless customers get low-cost prepared food

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Ca.— The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) wants elderly, disabled and homeless customers who receive CalFresh benefits to know they can use their Electronic Transfer Benefits (EBT) cards at eateries that participate in the county’s Restaurant Meals Program.

“We’re committed to assisting and protecting our vulnerable communities in this unprecedented time. We want to make sure people don’t go hungry,” said Allison Gonzalez, Assistant Director with DPSS’ Self-Sufficiency Division. “This program helps qualified customers get a hot, affordable meal.”

The Restaurant Meals Program is available to CalFresh participants who are homeless, disabled, or age 60 or older, including the spouse of a participant. Customers should contact their caseworker if they have questions about eligibility.

More than 150 restaurants across Riverside County participate in the program and display signs letting the public know they accept EBT cards. A complete list of participating restaurants can be found on the following link on the DPSS website:

“Many of the participating establishments offer drive-through and takeout options. These options can help customers practice social distancing and other precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Gonzalez added.

Riverside County vendors who want to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program must enter into an agreement with the county, then be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Vendors are encouraged to apply and can visit the following on the DPSS website for more information:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for local restaurants to expand their customer base while helping those in need,” Gonzalez said. The Restaurant Meals Program is a state program in which counties voluntarily participate. Riverside County began its program in 2018.

Customers applying for CalFresh and other DPSS Self-Sufficiency benefits (Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, Child Care, General Assistance and Welfare to Work) are encouraged to apply online at  or by calling 877-410-8827. 

Adults 60 and over, or adults with a disability who need supportive services and resources including home-delivered meals, or to coordinate pick-up meals at nutrition sites across the county, contact the Riverside County Office on Aging at 800-510-2020 or 951-867-3800, or visit

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