Student Government officials are ramping up efforts to allow access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) on campus.
Over 20 percent of CSU and community college students experience hunger. Congruently, one in four CSU students experience food insecurity or eat food that is inadequately nutritious or safe to eat.
Former student body president Jessica Jones originally pushed the initiative on campus in 2014. She was unable to see it through due to wavering support from the district and difficulty in finalizing paperwork.
“We faced great difficulty in trying to get an EBT machine located in the cafeteria as EBT cannot be used for hot processed food. The process of trying to get Fresh and Natural to register as a vendor took months and then our USDA application expired because we took too long to fill it out,” Jones said.
Since July 2014, the process has been stalemated and left to only a conversation.
This fall, SGA officials are going to push the initiative again in the hopes of providing a tool that will help combat hunger amongst college students.
“We are currently preparing to begin the process and we are going to strategize on how we are going to approach this issue,” said Jordan Panana Carbajal, SGA president. Panana Carbajal also alluded that government officials might be in contact with Jessica Jones for her input to help develop their strategy.
Despite the red tape involved in having SRJC become an EBT vendor, student government officials believe that the college still needs to do its part to provide EBT access for the SRJC community and to make purchasing food more convenient.
“Yes, I think that although there are some projects that… might not be the best, its still a stepping stone towards getting something better,” said Maria Salcido, vice president of committees.
If SRJC becomes an EBT vendor it would be one more tool to help students on campus. To date there are only a few institutions of higher education in California that are approved EBT vendors. Although EBT limits the food you can buy, it would still help provide nutrition for SRJC students.
To find out if you are eligible for EBT or SNAP benefits visit www.ebtproject.ca.gov.