Students learn about CalFresh resources during info session


Photo from CalFresh/ASI Website

Students were able to learn more about CalFresh and its resources.

Cassidy Lovell, Staff Writer

ASI hosted CalFresh Extravaganza, their annual CalFresh information session, during U-Hour on Oct. 28, around 50 people attended the Zoom meeting.

The session included two presentations: one from David Andrade, a San Diego County employee and another from Noemi Ramirez, CSUSM CalFresh specialist. Presentations covered the CalFresh application process, eligibility requirements and ended in a Q&A session.

Students may be eligible for CalFresh if they meet any of the following requirements. These requirements include, but are not limited to, being a recipient of CalGrant A or B, qualifying for work-study, having an EFC of zero, working an average of 20 hours or being enrolled in a state-funded program such as EOP. If a student is unsure of their eligibility, Andrade encourages them to apply anyway.

“It doesn’t matter how many are in your household, what income you have, what bank accounts, vehicles. It doesn’t matter. Apply anyways, and let the worker determine eligibility for your particular case,” Andrade said.

Even if students are currently receiving other forms of aid, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they can still qualify for CalFresh.

“It does not affect your SSI, it does not affect your retirement, your disability, your unemployment,”Andrade said, “It doesn’t affect that at all. It’s just a supplement that gets added on top of your already active benefits.”

During the application process, students should be prepared to show documents such as a driver’s license or other identification card, rent receipts, proof of income and household address.

For additional help regarding the application process, students can reach out to one of three CSUSM CalFresh specialists. These student team members are available via appointment Monday through Thursday. Students can also direct inquiries to the new CalFresh office, located at Commons 104 inside the Cougar Pantry.

“CalFresh is already dealing with a lot of information, your social security, private documents. We want to make sure that students feel safe in a space where they can share that with the CalFresh specialist. So, that’s why I am really glad that we now have this office,”Ramirez said.

If approved for CalFresh, students will receive an EBT card loaded with an amount specific to the student’s needs. This amount will be determined by the CalFresh worker and based on household size, expenses, income, and other factors. The card is reloaded monthly, any leftover funds will roll over to the following month.

The EBT card can be used at most grocery stores, such as Walmart, Costco or Amazon. At qualifying locations, the CalFresh funds can be used to purchase a variety of food items such as meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products or seeds to plant and grow food.

However, some items cannot be purchased using the EBT card. Alcohol and non-edible items such as deodorant and toilet paper are not able to be purchased using CalFresh funds. CalFresh is for food only.

At the end of the session, attendees’ names were placed on a wheel for the opportunity to win Starbucks gift cards or AirPods.

For more information regarding CalFresh resources and appointments, visit