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Chico State

Center for Healthy Communities Receives $3 Million in Renewed State Funding to Support Food Security for California College Students

Boxes of beautiful blackberries and raspberries
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Chico State’s Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) is excited to announce the renewal of state funding to continue efforts in supporting college students across California access CalFresh food benefits.

Thanks to the support of State Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and Phil Ting, Senators John Laird and Nancy Skinner and California Governor Gavin Newsom, CHC received a renewal of $3 million in funding to maintain and elevate its CalFresh Food support efforts across all three segments of higher education in California—California community colleges and California State University and University of California campuses—through the year 2025.

These state funds are anticipated to have a huge return of investment for the entire state, drawing in federal funds to meet the needs of students and reducing food insecurity on college campuses. CalFresh Food dollars will be spent in local communities across the state creating jobs and benefiting the overall agricultural industry in California, including small, medium and large farmers.

“We are grateful for the continued support of Assemblymembers McCarty and Ting, Senators Laird and Skinner, and Governor Newsom in prioritizing college student food insecurity and basic needs during a tight budget year,” said Aaron Kunst, co-director of CalFresh Outreach at CHC. “Prioritizing CalFresh Food strengthens our economy and supports college students in their journey to graduation.”

CHC has led the state and nation as the content experts in CalFresh Outreach to California college students since 2014 on over 50 campuses, helping thousands of individuals apply for benefits each year. Last year, its efforts brought an estimated economic impact of nearly $100 million to the state, according to the USDA SNAP Multiplier Effect. CHC partners with all 149 public college campuses and higher ed basic needs leaders to uplift and expand food benefit application assistance, which strengthens regional and state economies.

Since receiving initial state funding in 2021, CHC was able to elevate its work, including the development of the innovative CalFresh Outreach (CFO) Resource Hub. The CFO Resource Hub provides best practices, live help desk support to campuses and implementation of legislation. Most recently, CHC led the implementation of Assembly Bill 396, increasing local programs that increase employability. Its team, in partnership with all 149 campuses and the California Department of Social Services, expanded student eligibility to 7,797 local campus programs and counting—nearly a 3,000 percent increase in less than a year.

“This renewed funding will allow us to continue our vital work in supporting California college students access to CalFresh Food benefits and addressing food insecurity on college campuses,” added Brandi Simonaro, fellow co-director of CalFresh Outreach at CHC.

For more information about CHC and their work in supporting California college students’ access to CalFresh food benefits, please visit

The Center for Healthy Communities is a leader and connector, striving to provide equitable support to individuals and partners across diverse communities in California by building sustainable access to nourishing food and active environments. As a center supporting higher education, we elevate student success and career readiness skills through programs providing direct support to local community members and partner organizations. CHC envisions all Californians with equitable resources to live their healthiest lives.