CSU, Chico’s Center for Healthy Communities to Provide Food Assistance for Fire Victims in Northern California Counties

Date: 10-26-2017

CONTACT: Sean Murphy, Public Affairs
TEL: 530-898-6492
Jenny Breed, Center for Healthy Communities
TEL: 530-898-5675

California State University, Chico’s Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) is helping provide critical food support to fire victims in the North State, conducting outreach about expanded eligibility so people know they can apply for benefits. 

Identifying a dire need to provide food assistance to those affected by fires in seven Northern California counties, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service approved a request from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide Disaster-CalFresh services.

CSU, Chico’s CalFresh Outreach team (a service of CHC) will lead food emergency assistance efforts in Butte, Yuba and Mendocino counties. Outreach staff from other state partners will provide additional food assistance in Lake, Napa, Nevada and Sonoma counties.

Jenny Breed, program director at the CHC, said those affected by North State fires that started on or after Oct. 8 qualify. Entire towns were evacuated and thousands of people lost their homes and places of employment as dozens of devastating fires broke out across Northern California. The CHC will send between two and six individuals each day to help in Butte and Yuba counties, as well as four team members to Mendocino County.

CHC has been managing the CalFresh Outreach contract serving Northern California for nearly 10 years with great success, Breed noted. CDSS reached out to the CHC in 2015 when Lake County needed Disaster-CalFresh outreach, and is reaching out once again, asking the center to take the lead in multiple North State counties.

“This just shows how respected Chico is for their knowledge of CalFresh, and the trust CDSS has in Chico to help communities—and college students—with the application process,” said Denise Bevly, director of Student Wellness and Basic Needs Initiatives for the CSU system, which delivered the request to the CHC.

People may be eligible for assistance if they meet the following requirements:

  • If people were impacted by the Cherokee, LaPorte, Honey or Cascade fires, they may be eligible for a one-time food assistance of $192 for a one-person household or $640 for a family of four.
  • Individuals must meet with the county social services office by Nov. 1 to access this federal benefit.
  • Anyone who already receives CalFresh but is not at the maximum benefit may receive additional benefits if they were impacted by the fires.

People who are not usually eligible for CalFresh can qualify for Disaster-CalFresh if they meet the above criteria or if they sustained impacts from the fire such as the inability to work or get paid, suffered damages to their home or place of employment, experienced disaster-related costs such as lost food, or cannot access checking or savings accounts. This includes students, people on Social Security Income, and people without social security numbers.

“Folks who have had any loss of income or have had any additional fire-related expenses may be eligible,” Breed said.

Those who need assistance are encouraged to call CalFresh Outreach at 530-345-9749 or email them at CalFreshHelp530@gmail.com.


About California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico is the second-oldest campus in the 23-member CSU system, the nation’s largest public university system. Founded in 1887, Chico State enrolls approximately 17,500 students and offers more than 230 undergraduate and graduate programs through its seven colleges and five schools. The campus is consistently ranked as one of the best regional public universities in the Western United States, and is the only CSU campus to have earned a favorable rating in all five categories of the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scoreboard, which rates universities on affordability and value. Its mission includes a broad commitment to environmental sustainability, public service and community engagement throughout the 12-county North State region where the campus is located. The University became a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2015.