By: Albert Albad
Governor Gavin Newson is pushing efforts regarding the ongoing food insecurities college students face.
Currently, East Los Angeles College focuses on identifying ways to provide meals and resources to students in need of nutritional meals and has aligned with outside partnerships to continue said efforts.
Newsom plans to push bill AB 396 to help end college student hunger and stop any existing roadblocks that continue to surface for students when they apply for meal benefits.
ELAC has kept its focus on providing the best approachable solutions and keeping track of strategies in place.
It took a poll to understand what they were up against.
The East Los Angeles Foundation said that “According to a recent ELAC ASU poll of ELAC students, 70% of students at East Los Angeles college have experienced hunger or food insecurity on campus. Furthermore, 42.6% of students at the college believe that their success as students is affected because of their hunger/food insecurity, and 67.7% of ELAC students feel that ELAC needs to work on providing programs to tackle student hunger/food insecurity.”
To combat this problem, the ELAC associated student union has a food pantry for students to go to discreetly on campus, in addition to helping students fill out applications to qualify for CalFresh or receive food vouchers.
The CalFresh Program issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy most foods at grocery stores.
During the pandemic, the ELAC school campus had to go online and close the instrumental resources on campus.
Students had to find outside sources or other community food banks to obtain food for the day.
This bill aims to help college students who currently fall under a category that prevents them from receiving nutritional program benefits to be able to qualify by eliminating the current criteria.
The bill was written by a local assembly member, Jesse Gabriel. Also providing their support is Cal State University Chancellor Joseph Castro who seems hopeful that the bill will streamline how the academic programs will be certified.
Newsom’s recent developments to help end college student hunger, by pushing for the assembly bill AB 396, is a step in the right direction.
This bill will require public colleges such as ELAC to assist qualifying students who are in jobs and training programs to have access to CalFresh programs.
The bill is to combat the high prevalence of hunger and food insecurity found on all college and university campuses all over California.
The California Student Aid Commission stated that one-in-three California college students are affected by food and housing insecurities.
The bill will include the criteria the schools need to meet to obtain approval for each program.
The schools will have to report annually starting Sep. 1, 2023, with various committees.