In early 2019, the California Community Colleges and The Hope Center released the 2019 California Community Colleges #RealCollege Survey, which evaluated our students’ access to basic needs -- and the results were staggering. Data showed previously unknown levels of food insecurity, with more than half of students surveyed at California community colleges reporting they either couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals or worried their food would run out before having money to buy more.

In response, the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation) recently held a fundraising campaign to fight student hunger across the system and help connect our students to the nutrition they need to succeed. The campaign raised more than $600,000 thanks to generous contributions from Chancellor’s Office and Foundation staff, Board of Governors and Board of Directors representatives, corporate partners and many more!

A recent $500,000 anonymous philanthropic donation to support hunger-free campus efforts across the system kickstarted the campaign, followed by a generous $32,500 contribution from Golden 1 Credit Union in support of CalFresh Outreach Project efforts to deploy regional student ambassadors on campuses in the Sacramento Valley and connect low-income students to available food resources. The campaign built off this momentum, with donations going towards the expansion of current efforts like the CalFresh Outreach Project, which raises statewide awareness of California's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and gives students regular access to nutritious food.

Food insecurity has long been recognized as a deterrent to student success and remains not only a priority issue for the California Community Colleges, but for the state of California overall. This year’s state budget included $500,000 for research and efforts to reduce existing barriers around food insecurity, with recognition that there is a strong correlation between food challenges and academic success.

Together, with the Foundation, the Chancellor’s Office is committed to reducing the anxiety and uncertainty caused by food insecurity, so that our students can focus on pursuing their desired careers and achieving their dreams - and not where their next meal is coming from. If you would like to make a donation to support efforts to address student hunger, please visit the Fight Student Hunger donation page.