Students can qualify for up to $194 a month to spend on groceries through CalFresh, a federally funded program run by students and nutrition professor Aydin Nazmi.
The application process only takes about 30 minutes with about a 30-day approval period, according to the CalFresh website. Students can meet with an outreach coordinator over Zoom and then submit the required documents to see if they get approved.
These benefits are available year-round and there is no deadline to apply.
When a student is approved for funds from CalFresh, they receive the money on a card similar to a debit card to use at grocery stores around San Luis Obispo. Participating grocery stores include Trader Joe’s, Food 4 Less and the Farmer’s Market.
The requirements for eligibility vary, however there are some core requirements. Applicants must be a student of Cal Poly between the ages of 18 and 49, enrolled in at least six units and cannot have a meal plan at the school.
Students must also meet at least one of the other requirements listed on their website. Some of these include, receiving Cal Grant A or B, participating in work study or working at least 20 hours a week. All of the requirements are listed on their website.
Eligibility also depends on the student’s household size and monthly household income. The minimum requirement for household income is $15 a month and the maximum for a household size of one person is $2,082 a month.
Reagan Tierney, a nutrition junior and outreach coordinator for CalFresh, said that the organization was able to make the transition to Zoom quickly.
“Now that students can schedule appointments, I think we are helping a lot more students and it’s nice because it’s more private just having two people on the Zoom going through the application,” Tierney said.
Tierney has been involved with CalFresh since her first year at Cal Poly. She said she thinks it’s an important resource for students to know about.
“I’ve seen personally the difference it can make for students and how it can relieve stress,” Tierney said. “It’s important that all students know that there are enough benefits for all students that are eligible to apply and receive benefits, so you’re not taking it away from someone else.”
For more information go to the CalFresh website or check their social media, @calfreshcalpoly.