California State University, Long Beach
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Campus CalFresh Outreach Efforts

Published: April 17, 2017

CSULB Division of Student Affairs and Associated Students, Inc. are hosting their first-ever CalFresh Outreach Day on Thursday
PHOTO BY LALIG TARBINIAN

The CSULB Division of Student Affairs and Associated Students, Inc. hosted their first-ever CalFresh Outreach Day on April 13, on the second level of the University Student Union.

CalFresh is a statewide outreach program federally known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). It provides support to eligible low-income and food insecure individuals and families.

In June, Rashida Crutchfield, assistant professor in CSULB’s School of Social Work, released preliminary findings for a study on food and housing insecurity among Cal State University students, commissioned by Chancellor Timothy P. White. The results were startling. Crutchfield and her colleagues found that approximately one in 10 CSU students is housing insecure and one in four does not have enough food to eat.

While the second part of the study is underway, CSULB is already taking steps to help students obtain the food and housing they need to succeed in school.

Last October, the CSULB Dean of Students Office received a two-year grant from the California Department of Social Services and became a subcontractor for CalFresh outreach efforts. The program has now become part of the Division of Students Affairs’ Basic Needs Program, which offers several services addressing housing and food insecurities on campus, including the ASI Beach Pantry and Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Program.

“We are determined to offer our students every opportunity we can to ensure their success, and housing and food security are two components absolutely necessary for students to thrive. We are proud of the opportunity to host CalFresh Outreach Day on our campus,” said Carmen Taylor, vice president of Student Affairs.

Students who attended the CalFresh Outreach Day were able to find out if they are eligible for food assistance benefits and could fill out an application. If approved, a student may receive their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card within two to three weeks of applying. Students can use their EBT cards at the Corner Market in the University Student Union in addition to off-campus stores, such as Trader Joe’s, Ralphs and Costco.

During the April 13 event, 71 individuals were pre-screened and deemed eligible for the program in just five hours. In addition, there was an increase in awareness about CalFresh outreach efforts now being offered on campus.

“Food security and adequate access to healthy food is essential for student success,” Carol Menard Fulthorp, assistant dean of students and program manager explained. “The CSULB CalFresh Outreach will help ensure that our eligible food insecure students have an opportunity to receive CalFresh benefits and focus more on their course work and less on their basic needs as they work toward their ultimate goal of graduation.”

Since the start of spring semester, the CSULB CalFresh Outreach Program staff and social work student interns have received training and have assisted students with the CalFresh application process through appointments and drop-in hours at the ASI Beach Pantry and Student Health Services.

“Students have seen the benefits of having extra money in their bank accounts that can go toward healthy, nutritious meals,” said Mercedes Costello, CSULB Master of Social Work student and CalFresh Outreach Program intern supervisor. “It helps them to better combat issues throughout the day without having hunger in their stomachs.”

Drop-in hours will continue to be available the rest of the semester on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at both the ASI Beach Pantry and the Student Health Center. To make an appointment, click here or email calfresh@csulb.edu.