New program to allow food stamps to pay for healthy restaurant meals

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to begin a program that will allow more than 21,000 county residents to use food stamps to pay for healthy restaurant meals.

Through the Restaurant Meals Program, seniors, disabled and homeless people will be able to use their CalFresh benefits at some local eateries that will offer low-cost healthy menu options.

The program will rely on cooperation with the California Restaurant Association, and will involve an application process for eateries that want to be included.

Participating restaurants will not be allowed to charge a sales tax or gratuity on the meals, and cannot sell alcohol to participants.

“I heard concerns that people will be spending this money on tips for waiters,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts. “You don't have waiters at Taco Bell.”

The program will give disadvantaged residents access to hot meals while bolstering the economy, Supervisor Bill Horn said.

“It's a win-win,” he said.

Residents will be able to begin using food stamps at restaurants in about six months.

Categories: KUSI