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CalFresh works with CSULB to make sure no student goes hungry

CSULB students in need can find assistance at the USU during CalFresh Outreach Day

Lilly Nguyen, Staff Writer

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Put down those instant noodles — Cal State Long Beach’s Division of Student Affairs is presenting its second CalFresh Outreach Day at the southeast terrace of the University Student Union Tuesday afternoon.

CalFresh is a subset of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a federally-mandated but state-regulated program that works with counties to provide food benefits to aid low-income households. Benefits vary depending on household size, income and expenses such as housing, electricity and water. Beneficiaries receive monthly benefits that can be used to buy food at most markets, but excludes the purchase of alcohol, cigarettes and paper products.

Eligible attendees of the event may receive a monthly stipend up to $196 to be put toward groceries. Students are also encouraged to attend the event to see if they might qualify for aid by filling out an application. Qualifying applicants can then expect to receive their Electronic Benefits Transfer two to three weeks after submission, which can be used around campus as well as other off-campus locations such as Trader Joe’s, Costco and some local farmers’ markets.

Part-time workers, participants in the Educational Opportunity Program or Disabled Student Services, work-study students and Cal Grant recipients may also be eligible for aid. Applicants do not have to be on welfare to receive benefits from CalFresh.

This is the second of the CalFresh Outreach Days hosted on campus this year, which is slated  to be held once every semester in accordance with the two-year grant given to the university by the California Department of Social Services in October 2016.

The introduction of CalFresh Outreach Days this year is expected to disseminate information to a potentially unknowing student body, which would otherwise not know the help exists.

“Food security and adequate access to healthy food is essential for student success,” said Carol Menard-Fulthorp, the assistant dean of students who also acts as the campus’ manager of the program in a 2016 press release. “[The grant from the California Department of Social Services] 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 — graduation.”

According to a report in 2016 by Rashida Crutchfield, an assistant professor in CSULB’s School of Social Work, 8.7 percent of students are displaced and 21 percent of students are food insecure. That means as far as CSU students go, one in every 12 students are likely to be housing insecure while one out of every five students are likely not to find food at the table.

The university has made strides in ameliorating this gap with the introduction of the Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Program in 2015, which assists homeless and food-insecure students. The program helps students get access to food and shelter in order to continue pursuing their educations, offering temporary reprieve from the reported high levels of stress documented in Crutchfield’s report. These efforts have been made as a part of the CSU system’s Basic Needs initiative, which began in February 2015.

“The fact that this is the second one this year says a lot about the dedication of the university to spread this information and help the students who need it the most,” said Taylor Bonish, a recent transfer student and third-year business administration major.

She added that it was emphasized in the pre-SOAR orientation videos and that it attracted her attention because she felt it was touching that the campus cared so much about its students. “I thought the concept was fantastic. I just sat through the rest of the videos like a zombie.”

Other sources of campus food help can be found at the Associated Students Incorporated’s Beach Pantry located at USU-302, which first opened in 2016.

Students that are unable to attend the event, but wish to apply for or receive aid from the program can still do so for the rest of the fall semester by going to the Student Health Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by scheduling an appointment at https://csulbcalfresh.youcanbook.me/.

 

FARMERS MARKETS’ IN LONG BEACH THAT ACCEPT CALFRESH:

  • Long Beach Southeast CFM
    6530 E Marina Dr
    Long Beach, CA 90803
    Sunday, Year Round
    9:00am – 2:00pm
  • Marine Stadium Farmers’ Market
    E Paoli Way & Marina Park Ln
    Long Beach, CA 90803
    Wednesday, Year Round
    3:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Long Beach Downtown Certified Farmers’ Market
    N Promenade & 4th St
    Long Beach, CA 90802
    Friday, Year Round
    10:00am – 2:00pm
    Market Match offered year round, up to $10 per visit.
  • North Long Beach Farmers’ Market
    4570 Atlantic Ave
    Long Beach, CA 90807
    Thursday, Year Round
    3:00pm – 6:30pm
    Market Match offered year round, up to $10 per visit.

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