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New California law expands access to CalFresh benefits to students

The SLO Food Bank and its Hunger Relief Network are celebrating the signing of a new state law designed to provide hunger relief to struggling students.

Governor Newsom recently signed into law SB 641 CalFresh for College Students, which will continue to remove barriers for students seeking CalFresh food assistance.

Cal Poly’s SLO Food Bank neighborhood food distribution saw its largest participation ever at the start of the last quarter.

SLO Cuesta College’s distribution has doubled since August 2022 when students returned for the semester, now serving over 110 households.

Diane Limon, a CalWORKs specialist at Cuesta College and neighborhood food distribution site manager in Paso Robles, attributes this increase in participation to the rising cost of living for students, often putting them in a position to choose between their academic needs and their food budget.

Existing federal law exempts many students who are otherwise eligible for income from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits of the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to studentagainsthungerresearch shows that approximately one in four students experience hunger and need easier access to food.

SB 641 expanded the criteria for students to qualify for CalFresh, making more students eligible for these key benefits and removing barriers to their participation.

To find out if you qualify for CalFresh visit GetCalFresh.org or call 1-877-847-3663.

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