Long Beach State’s division of student affairs joined with the nutrition assistance program, CalFresh, as a part of an outreach day Thursday.
The CalFresh program began in 2016 and has grown through grants from the Office of the Chancellor.The program recently received a $3.975 million grant which will be distributed to a chain of programs within the Division of Student Affairs.
“We have a large number of underrepresented students who have needs and concerns,” said Kenneth Kelly, the director of Basic Needs Program. “We serve undergraduate students and graduate students, it’s extensive.”
Part of the focus of CalFresh is to educate and mentor students on how to balance nutritional meals on their budgets.
“SNAP Education is part of our program where we teach cooking classes, we teach what’s in the pantry and how to cook it,” Kelly said. “We’re building a teaching kitchen, we’ll be like the Food Network.”
The teaching kitchen will be built in the Student Wellness and Recreation Center once the paperwork is processed.
CalFresh caters to students who are undergoing financial downfalls, domestic abuse or handicap needs.
The program has served over 200 cases since the fall semester.
Students like Jose Diaz, an undergraduate freshman, have benefited from CalFresh.
“I work and go to school full-time to support my mom and sister and when I first came to Long Beach I was worried about how we’d get by,” Diaz said. “They have provided us housing and groceries every month.”
Licensed clinical social workers were also available to help students with long-term planning with housing.
ASI has collaborated with CalFresh by opening the Beach Pantry in 2016. The organizations plan on adding additional hours throughout the weekday and opening new hours on Saturdays.
“As long as there is a need out there, I will make an argument and we will continue to grow as a staff,” Kelly said. “We’re moving in the right direction to help accommodate needs.”