DAVIS, Calif. — More than 1,000 college students have applied for food stamps in the past year and a half at UC Davis, courtesy of focused outreach efforts from both the university and Yolo County. As applications for food stamps grew by hundreds, the number of students actively seeking help grew by thousands.
“The amount of students that they [UC Davis] are seeing that are homeless, that are sleeping in their cars, that are using the showers in the locker room, that are food insecure, and accessing the food pantry is off the charts,” said Nolan Sullivan, a service branch director for Yolo County.
With more than 9,400 visits by 4,100 students rounding out its first year, the UC Davis Aggie Compass Center is seeing the most action. Generally, the center helps students worried about choosing between either paying their electric bill or paying their tuition by connecting them to fresh food, financial help and help with housing issues.
CalFresh at UC Davis
While the center provides help in multiple areas, its director Leslie Kemp says the center has seen a "huge spike" in CalFresh applications and approvals. Currently, most services revolve around food – the biggest area of which is CalFresh, California's take on food stamps. Other programs for basic needs will follow in the coming year.
The center has a county CalFresh worker on location five days every week. That worker is able to do the student's CalFresh interview and enrollment in one sitting. Adding to that, there's an entire student team dedicated to pre-qualifying students interested in CalFresh.
According to Sullivan, the county got more than 1,300 CalFresh applications from the UC Davis campus from January 2018 to June 2019.