Only 20% of food insecure students eligible for CalFresh use it


Wildcat food pantry Photo credit: Nicholas Feeley

Nicholas Feeley

Nearly half of Chico State students lack enough access to food to live a healthy life.

Over 46 percent of students reported being food insecure according to a food insecurity report from late 2016. This is three times higher than the national average of food insecure individuals.

CalFresh is a program provides students food stamps for order purchase of food. While over 80 percent of students at Chico State who reported being food insecure are eligible to receive CalFresh, they do not use it.

According to the report, possible explanations why the program is not being used by all eligible is the criteria for enrollment. It is too much of a burden for some students. Here are the criteria for students who wish to apply.

· Be enrolled in at least six units.

· Receive an income within a given range depending on your household size.

· Maintain a paying job for a minimum of 20 hours a week.

· Be a fully legal permanent resident of the United States.

If students do not meet this requirement, there are other things that can make them eligible.

Channel Gibson is a second-year biology major who signed up for CalFresh assistance. “They give you enough so you can buy groceries,” she said.

Gibson explained that by signing up for aid her food now, “doesn’t have to come out of pocket.”

Students have not been using the program to its fullest ability and there are concerns of a social stigma with applying for food aid.

“It’s like financial aid. It shouldn’t matter what other people think,” Gibson said.

Other student resources for food include the Wildcat food pantry which provides non-perishable groceries and fresh fruit to anyone who identifies as in need. It can provide food while on campus when someone is in need of something quick, but only has a limited supply of items and what they have can change fast.

For more information, visit the Wildcat food pantry located in Kendall Hall, room 110 Monday to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can reach Nicholas Feeley at [email protected] or @nicholasfeeley on Twitter.