California State University, Long Beach
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EBT/SNAP Program AT Corner Market

Published: November 14, 2016

CornerMarket-Front
PHOTO COURTESY OF FORTY-NINER SHOPS, INC.

The Corner Market convenience store, located in CSULB’s University Student Union and managed by the Forty-Niner Shops, Inc. is now part of the EBT/SNAP program. Participants in the programs can purchase anything from the Corner Market using their EBT card including fresh fruit, sandwiches, snacks, supplies and over-the-counter medication. As the university gains greater insight into food and housing insecurity among students, additional programs and services have been implemented to address the issues and improve student achievement.

“Food and housing insecurity is a very real challenge for a large number of our students,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “And it’s critical we provide resources to those in need. This is one more way we can make sure students are able to achieve their academic goals.”

The driving forces behind pursuing EBT/SNAP accessibility at CSULB come from the Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Program spearheaded by the Office of the Dean of Students and the research conducted by Rashida Crutchfield, an assistant professor in CSULB’s School of Social Work. Crutchfield’s research on food and housing instability throughout the California State University (CSU) system resulted in data-driven recommendations for best practices. According to preliminary results from Crutchfield’s studies, an estimated 8-12 percent of CSU students face housing insecurity while 21-24 percent are food insecure. CSULB’s Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Program identifies and immediately serves some of these at-risk students and is one of the most comprehensive in the nation.

According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Services website, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal aid program, offers food-purchasing assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received. EBT is used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. California EBT cards can be used at more than 15,000 businesses and over 54,000 ATMs throughout the state.

As additional research demonstrates the growing number of students experiencing food and housing insecurity and the challenges they face, CSULB continues to institute best practices to improve success and help students to graduate.

The university was the recipient of a grant from the California Department of Social Services that will lead to CalFresh Outreach. CalFresh is part of the SNAP program and offers nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families. Staff members and interns will be trained to assist students and families in completing paperwork and determining program eligibility while also hosting outreach events to help increase awareness of these services.

Additionally, Associated Students, Inc., CSULB’s student body leadership, recently held the grand opening for the ASI Beach Pantry, a food pantry for students experiencing food insecurity.