Continuing their efforts to further address the needs of low-income students, Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) officials announced yesterday a new partnership with the state’s EBT/SNAP programs.
Students enrolled in those programs will be able to use their EBT and SNAP cards to purchase anything from the school’s Corner Market, which is located in the University Student Union and managed by the Forty-Niner Shops. That includes fresh fruit, sandwiches, snacks, supplies and over-the-counter medication, university officials said in a release.
“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 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—a federal aid program—provides 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, according to the USDA Food and Nutrition Services website.
The partnership was made possible by CSULB’s Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness Program, which offers emergency grants, access to meals and short-term emergency housing spearheaded by the Office of the Dean of Students.
In addition, research conducted by Rashida Crutchfield, assistant professor at CSULB’s School of Social Work, on food and housing instability throughout the California State University (CSU) system resulted in recommendations for best practices, university officials stated.
Results from Crutchfield’s studies estimate that eight to 12 percent of CSU students face housing insecurity, while 21 to 24 percent are food insecure, according to the university.
“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,” the university stated in a release. “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.”
Recently, university officials announced that CSULB was the recipient of a grant from the state Department of Social Services, which will lead to CalFresh outreach. CalFresh is part of the SNAP program and offers nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families. As part of the outreach, Student Emergency Intervention and Wellness program staff and interns with the School of Social Work will be trained to help students and families complete paperwork and determine eligibility while hosting outreach events to help increases awareness of these services, officials said.
In late October, CSULB’s Associated Students, Inc. celebrated the grand opening for the ASI Beach Pantry, a food pantry for students experiencing food insecurity.
Above, left photo courtesy of 49er Shops.