Understanding the CalFresh Benefit

How GCC students can apply

CalFresh tabling on campus, April 2022.
Student ambassadors table on campus, April 5. (Melanie Kasparian, Contributing Photographer) 

CalFresh, a government-run program aimed at helping low income families gain access to nutritious food, is available to Glendale Community College students that apply in the 2022 academic year.

The CalFresh program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, offers households and individuals monthly financial assistance in order to afford meals and other basic necessities . Jacqueline Kamei, a former GCC CalFresh ambassador, helped to shed light on requirements in an email interview.  “Even if students are not sure about whether they would be eligible for the program, it is always beneficial to apply because there have been cases where people were eligible despite initially thinking that they did not qualify,” said Kamei. “When I was in the ambassador program, we were also informed that calling the number 2-1-1 which is a phone line meant to help people with food resources as well as other essential services, could be beneficial ,” she continued.  2-1-1 is a free telephone number providing access to local community services.

Kamei was asked about how students should sign up for the program and how the application process works for GCC students. “GCC students would have to fill out an online application,” she explained. “They would go to www.students.getcalfresh.org/s/ccc and complete the online application, which often takes less than 10 minutes. If the student would like some assistance with filling out their CalFresh application, they could contact [email protected] with their questions.” 

Kamei stressed that “applicants also need to submit proof of their eligibility through various documents, such as a copy of your ID, proof of income, proof of Immigration, proof of student status. The application will then be reviewed by a county caseworker, and the applicant will be informed of whether they are eligible for CalFresh. It takes approximately 30 days for the application to be reviewed. Over this period, there will also be an interview conducted by the county, in person or by phone. Once approved, applicants will receive their Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (EBT), which they could begin using at grocery stores, farmers markets, and select restaurants.” 

Eligibility for CalFresh benefits is based upon the number of people that reside in a household. The amount of benefits received depends on household income and certain expenses According to CalFresh Data, effective Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022, the Gross Monthly income needs to be at $2904.00 and net monthly income at $1,452 for a household of two.

Alina Martin can be reached at  [email protected].