Need help applying for CalFresh?


Will Baker

Every Wednesday, the main walkway on campus is full of vendors providing fresh and local produce that can be purchased with Cal Fresh. Photo by Will Baker.

“As a cook and chef, our industry was hit hard. Out of work and not able to pay bills, we found ourselves in the shelters and it was rough, but we were able to sustain ourselves,” said Francisco Pacheco, a 43-year-old father of two kids who lost his job as a cook during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pacheco found himself living in a hotel room with his kids after losing his job and eventually, the place he and his children called home.

During the family’s hardships, Pacheco applied for CalFresh, a state-funded program where people facing hard times can buy groceries to make meals for themselves and their families.

Often, there are people that are too proud to seek assistance from anyone or anywhere whenever they need it. The COVID-19 pandemic left its mark on the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Many people throughout the state of California and in Los Angeles, lost their jobs. Not to mention the lives that were lost.

According to an article that was published by NPR in May 2018, only 70% of those eligible for food assistance took part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2015. This means that 30% of those eligible for food assistance had yet to enroll in the program. 

On April 6, student services, located across from the Biological Sciences Building and next to Parking Lot B, hosted an event with CalFresh where Cal State LA students, faculty and staff could apply for food assistance.

Students will have another opportunity to apply for CalFresh on May 4 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Student Services Building.

Jason Lopez, who is in his third year as a mechanical engineering major thinks that it’s a great idea that CalFresh is having these events to apply for their services, because he said it’ll help students that are in need of assistance.

Students that miss out on on-campus events can apply for CalFresh online. The entire application process takes around 10-15 minutes to get through. Go to, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on apply as a student.

Next, applicants will be asked some basic information: zip code, language the applicant wishes to apply in, who the applicant usually buys and makes food with and if the applicant has applied for CalFresh within the last year.

In the last steps of the application, it will say that the applicant is applying for CalFresh in the county in which they reside. Lastly, the application asks questions about employment and income.

“This is a good idea because it helps students and their families that are struggling,” said Jeremy Flores, a Cal State LA student in his second semester.