Student food insecurity is now a major issue on most campuses of the California State University (CSU). Alica Bedore knows a great deal about this subject—in part because she knows a great about CalFresh, the federally funded program that helps low-income people buy the food they need for good health.
In fact, Bedore focused her master’s degree on the eligibility of Chico State students for CalFresh benefits.
The results of her research, not yet formally released, suggest that almost 50 percent (46.4 percent) of CSU, Chico students are “food insecure,” according to current USDA eligibility measurements. Yet by other allowable screening criteria, Bedore discovered that almost 60 percent (59.6 percent) of Chico State students can be categorized as suffering from too little food or from poor quality food. Read more about Alica...
Hunger and malnutrition have devastating consequences for children and have been linked to low birth weight and birth defects, obesity, mental and physical health problems, and poorer educational outcomes.
—Marian Wright Edelman, children’s rights activist
The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) recently surveyed a randomly selected cross-section of 707 CSU, Chico students. Using a USDA-validated tool to assess food security status, the survey found 46.4 percent of the University’s students are food insecure. Regardless of their USDA food security classification, students could be eligible for CalFresh benefits based on federal household income guidelines and student specific criteria, e.g. number of units taken in school, age, and work status. (CalFresh is California’s name for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, food aid once known as Food Stamps.) Using these other screening criteria, 59.6 percent of student respondents would likely be deemed eligible for CalFresh benefits. In contrast to these findings, the current rate of CalFresh enrollment among participating students was 11.7 percent.
The lack of access to proper nutrition is not only fueling obesity, it is leading to food insecurity and hunger among our children.
—Tom Vilsack, US secretary of agriculture
It’s a startling fact: Many college students in the US are going hungry. Many don’t know when their next nutritious meal will come or where it will come from.
How many university and college students can be classified as “food insecure”? As reported in 2014 by MSNBC, the total annual number may be well over 1 million. Feeding America’s 2014 Hunger in America Report estimates that college students represent about 10 percent of its 46.5 million adult clients—roughly 4.65 million, with 2 million of those attending college full-time. Almost one-third of Feeding America’s college student clients—30.5 percent or 1.5 million students—report that they’ve had to choose between paying for college costs and buying food. Read more about student hunger ...
Working at the Food Bank with my kids is an eye-opener. The face of hunger isn’t the bum on the street drinking Sterno; it’s the working poor. They don't look any different, they don't behave any differently, they’re not really any less educated. They are incredibly less privileged, and that’s it.
—Mario Batali, chef and media personality
Food insecurity is defined by the US Department of Agriculture as a lack of “access . . . to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Its severity can range from a poor quality (low-nutrient) diet or one that lacks variety to irregular eating patterns and reduced food consumption. According to the USDA, US food insecurity increased by 24 percent in just one year following the financial collapse of 2008.
Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin professor of education policy and sociology, has identified two types of students that struggle with food insecurity—those who experienced hunger and poverty before attending college, and those who are hungry for the first time due to the expenses of higher education.
Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy observes that this new awareness of hunger on college campuses comes at a time when so-called “nontraditional” students, including those who are low-income, older, raising a family, and attending community college, have become the norm. Given that more than half of US high-school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, Lower-Basch points out that those needs don’t change when students head to college.
I first got involved with ending world hunger, and I got hip to the facts about it—what a huge problem it was and how it wasn't a matter of not having food or not knowing how to end it, but it was a matter of creating the political will.
—Jeff Bridges, actor and musician
CHC Wins Statewide CSU Student Hunger Grant
The CHC has received $1,640,968 from the California Departments of Public Health and Social Services to implement CalFresh Outreach services on California State University campuses. Partnering with the CSU Chancellor’s Office to eliminate student hunger, the CHC will lead the effort among CSU campuses during the next two academic years to help students eligible for CalFresh to sign up for, receive, and use CalFresh benefits.
Click here for more information on this grant.
CHC 2016 Publications to Date
Chunyan Song, sociology; Keiko Goto, nutrition and food science; Cindy Wolff, nutrition and food science; and Min Hu, student, coauthored the article “The Impact of Social and Cultural Factors on the Consumption of Western Fast Food among Chinese Children” in the Community Development Journal, published in January 2016.
Click here for more information on our publications.
Poster Papers Presented
In October the CHC’s Assistant Director Stephanie Bianco and Fiscal Analyst Naomi Stamper went to Boston and the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo sponsored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to present their poster paper “Identifying Food Safety Barriers among Small and Mid-Sized California Farmers.”
Click here to read more about 2016 CHC poster papers.
By Jackie Paim
In a world of fast food and sugary drinks, it is refreshing to find a program that gets kids to slow down and enjoy a healthy meal—let alone teach them to cook one themselves. That’s the idea behind the summer cooking classes the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) has offered to kids for more than a decade now.
Get Cooking is a five-day camp designed to get kids off to a successful start in the kitchen. During the week, the class offers children ages 7–13 reliable nutrition information and cooking skills, encouraging them to get comfortable in the kitchen and experiment with food. Kids learn how to cook but also how to safely use a knife. They learn to prepare a variety of recipes such as egg burritos, tabouli, and pumpkin pudding, while CHC interns teach them the fine points of safe food preparation. Children also enjoy interacting with these “older kids” while they learn to cook, bake, sauté, and fry. Read more about the CHC's cooking camp for kids...
Fall Means Food Day
This year, events will include special CalFresh Day outreach in October for students at Chico State and Butte College campuses. For more information about Food Day, contact the CHC’s Alica Bedore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Center for Healthy Communities celebrates 15 years
Read this article in the Chico Enterprise-Record.
Published September 5, 2016
Weekly meals to seniors at three Butte County sites
Read this article in the Chico Enterprise-Record.
Published July 22, 2016
|Center for Healthy Communities
25 Main Street
Suites 101 and 201
CSU Chico, Chico, CA
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