Home Start receives training and funding from San Diego Hunger Coalition to support its work to connect people in need to CalFresh food assistance. They partner with the San Diego State University Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Ethnic Affairs to provide CalFresh application assistance to food insecure students. Below is a story about one of their clients.
Meet Vivian Gomez. Vivan is relying on CalFresh while pursuing a degree at San Diego State University. CalFresh helps supplement her limited income so she doesn't have to dip into her financial aid to pay for the healthy food she needs to fuel her studies and graduate.
At what point in your life did you start receiving CalFresh?
I started receiving CalFresh during my first semester – in August, 2017.
How is CalFresh helping you?
I’m a student and my parents aren’t the wealthiest, so I’ve always had to support myself and I'm trying my best getting through college. CalFresh has really helped me not have to worry about groceries, food, or going hungry.
How did it make you feel?
Relieved! As I said before, I don't have to worry about going hungry or opening the refrigerator and seeing it completely being barren, except maybe a box of baking soda.
How would you make ends meet without CalFresh?
I would have to dip into financial aid and my student loans to help pay for food because I don’t have much parental assistance.
What are some common misconceptions that you’ve heard about CalFresh?
I think one of the most common misconceptions is that CalFresh is an abused welfare program. People think that people on CalFresh are, “just low-lives,” “they don’t do anything,” “they’re good-for-nothing.” But the reality is that CalFresh is there to help people who need it – starving students, mothers, etc.
What are you most proud of in your life and what are your hopes for the future?
I’m probably most proud of the fact that I’m in college at SDSU. I’m first-generation American. My parents are from Guatemala. I’m just here trying to make them proud.
What do you want elected officials to know about food assistance programs like CalFresh?
They should know that it’s great. It’s incredibly helpful. If you’re out there worrying about money, worrying about food – it’s a really hard position to be in – especially in college where you also have to focus on school and grades and completing homework assignments and projects. I think it’s a really important program to help students like me.
Do you know someone who needs access to CalFresh?