CalFresh Outreach Project

What We Do  /  Equity  /  CalFresh Outreach Project
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Promoting resources that address student hunger.

Student hunger, or food insecurity, affects up to two-thirds of California Community College students. One solution community colleges have implemented is to set up food pantries on campus, which provide immediate relief to hungry students. Food pantry staff also provide students with resources that help mitigate barriers to food access, such as CalFresh benefits. Many students are not aware that they may eligible for CalFresh, California's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps to prevent hunger and gives people access to nutritious foods.

Raising awareness statewide

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation are working together along with multiple partners on a statewide level, including CSU Chico’s Center for Healthy Communities, to raise awareness and conduct outreach among students to enroll for CalFresh benefits. The Foundation also received a generous gift from the Kroger Co. Foundation to conduct targeted CalFresh outreach in the Los Angeles area. These efforts include creating outreach toolkits with promotional materials, digital outreach, and CalFresh outreach training and technical assistance. By reducing student hunger, CalFresh benefits can help our students to have better outcomes both in health and education. This comprehensive awareness campaign will aim to reduce stigma around the program, encourage students to find out if they are eligible, and apply for benefits at The CalFresh outreach project is funded in part by USDA, SNAP, known in California as CalFresh, an equal opportunity provider and employer, and the California Department of Social Services.

Improving access through technology

Built by Code for America, a nonprofit in partnership with the California Department of Social Services, helps guide California’s students through the process of getting CalFresh benefits with a friendly and respectful experience. It demystifies eligibility determination and streamlines the application process, removing barriers to access and putting CalFresh benefits in reach. It guides students throughout the process, giving updates during their application review and determination as well as offering support for common barriers such as gathering appropriate documentation or missed appointments.



To be potentially eligible for CalFresh, students must meet ONE of the following exemptions. The list below is not intended to be exhaustive; additional programs might be referred to locally by another name.

Programs that increase employability

  • Disabled Student Programs and Services
  • Puente Project
  • MESA Program

Programs for foster youth

  • Guardian Scholars
  • Foster Youth Success Initiative
  • NextUp
  • Chafee ETV
  • Extended Foster Care (AB 12/AB 212)

Other exemptions

  • Approved for work study
  • Having dependent children under the age of 12
  • Recipient of CalWORKs
  • Working 20 hours/week; or average of 80 hours/month

Contact Us

Cole Forstedt
Senior Manager, Equity
T: 916.491.4488


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Foundation for California
Community Colleges

1102 Q Street, Suite 4800
Sacramento, CA 95811

Toll Free: 866.325.3222
Fax: 916.325.0844

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The Foundation serves as the official foundation supporting the Board of Governors, Chancellor’s Office, and the entire California Community College system, including 116 colleges and 73 districts, serving 2.1 million students.

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