September Shared Plate Recipient – Basic Needs Initiative

I’ve nominated the Basic Needs Initiative (BNI) at CSUMB because I am proud of having this university in our community that so many first-in-the-family students attend. I am honored to serve on the CSUMB Library Leadership Council, and because of that association, I was impressed when I learned about the student led BNI program.

In California, a state that consistently has one of the highest costs of living, it is good news that CSUMB students have a place to go to find help in maintaining their basic needs so they can remain in school. There is an on-campus Food Pantry, CalFresh Outreach (CalFresh is a food benefit that gives money for groceries. CalFresh supports students with more money for groceries), and an interdisciplinary Basic Needs Committee. The Associated Students council at CSUMB has created the position of Basic Needs Senator, devoted entirely to the coordination of the Food Pantry and cultivation of other resources to support students, so they can stay in school.

The Basic Needs Hub serves as the on-campus food pantry, as well as a space for students to connect with resources to help them in meeting their basic needs and to empower them to be successful, connected members of the student body and the community at large. Any enrolled student may visit The Hub to get nonperishable grocery items, healthy produce and grab and go snacks prepared by Associated Students and Chartwells, the dining services provider. Students can also receive drop-in CalFresh application assistance, farmers market vouchers, and information about nutrition, housing, and financial support program at the HUB. As many as 280 students are served daily by the HUB. Over 1000 students have been helped in applying for CalFresh Food (SNAP). In the last academic year, 2,489 unique students took advantage of BNI services.

Also, about 600 students are served annually via the Emergency Fund, which seeks to provide immediate financial assistance for students who encounter temporary financial hardship such as severe illness, accident and/or hospitalization, housing displacement and/or loss/lack of permanent residence or loss of income due to loss of primary financial support for some reason.

The Hub also accepts food donations:
? rice (bags or microwaveable pouches); beans
(dry and canned);
? pasta/noodles – any form;
? marinara sauce;
? dried fruit – apricots, peaches, mangoes, raisins,
cranberries etc.;
? bars: granola bars, Clif bars, energy bars;
? cereal – all kinds;
? non-refrigerated milk – oat, soy, almond;
? nut butter: all kinds, almond, peanut butter
? jams/jellies;
? canned goods: all kinds, vegetables, tuna etc ;
? nuts; trail mix.

Contact. Robyn DoCanto, Basic Needs Program Coordinator — 831-582-3522, to arrange to deliver any food donations.

Here is how donations of different sizes can help:

  • $25 donation can buy a student a hot meal.
  • $50 donation can help stock the Basic Needs Hub.
  • $100 donation can help a student buy groceries for a month.
  • $250 donation can help fund a student who needs emergency/temporary housing on campus.

Please be generous!
— Konny Murray