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Help Us Meet Students’ Basic Needs

Chico Cares is an annual fundraising campaign for the Chico State Basic Needs Project which provides nutritious food, short-term emergency housing, and emergency grants for students experiencing significant financial stress and poverty.


Through your generous support over the last year we have been able to expand and improve our basic needs services making a positive difference for thousands of Chico State students.

Together in the 2017-18 academic year we:

Opened a dedicated location for the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry in the Student Services Center on campus.

Served more than 4,000 students, supporting an average of 100 pantry visits per day.

Distributed more than 35 tons of healthy food, an equivalent of 58,000 meals.

Expanded our food supplies through the North State Food Band and the Food Banks of Contra Costa and Solano Counties and improved our wholesale purchasing channels through the Associated Students and local grocers.

Increased our provision of high quality, sustainably grown organic produce through the University Farm’s Organic Vegetable Project and several other local farmers and growers. 

Supported more than 2,000 students in their quest to receive CalFresh USDA SNAP food assistance with direct application assistance through our collaboration with the Center for Healthy Communities, a national leader in the implementation USDA SNAP outreach and enrollment programs. This effort added more than $3 million dollars to our local economy, positively impacting the food security of our students while benefiting local farmers and grocers.

Assisted dozens of students with off campus housing support and placed 13 displaced or homeless students in emergency and transitional housing through University Housing and community partnerships.

Provided more than $10,000 in emergency grants and employment opportunities for students in unexpected financial crisis.

Improve basic needs services and referrals through partnership with the School of Social Work internship program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many Chico State students experience food insecurity?

A 2018 California State University research study indicates that 8,000 students (50 percent) suffer from low to very low food security. The USDA defines food insecurity as having problems or anxiety about consistently accessing adequate food, with impacts to the quality, variety, and desirability of a diet and the potential for disrupted eating patterns or reduced food intake. 

Q: What is the University doing to address student food insecurity?

The Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry was established in 2013 by Kathleen Moroney and has provided more than 50 tons of food assistance to more than 6,500 students since opening in a staff office. Through the support of CalFresh Outreach and CSU, Chico Center for Healthy Communities, the pantry provides application assistance for CalFresh, which is California’s USDA SNAP supplemental food program. The pantry also provides hygiene products and referrals to campus and community services for students in need. The Pantry is a key component of the Chico State Basic Needs Project, which the Chico Cares Campaign supports.

Q: How big is the problem of student housing displacement and homelessness?

The 2018 research study, the California State University estimated that 500 Chico State students will find themselves displaced or homeless during the academic year.

Q: What is the University doing to address student housing insecurity?

The School of Social Work, Financial Aid, Financial Services, University Housing, and Student Affairs have developed a referral program to provide short-term emergency housing for students in financial crisis.

Q: Where do my donations go when I contribute?

Your gift will go directly toward the provision and distribution of nutritious food, short-term emergency housing, and emergency grants for students experiencing significant financial stress and poverty.

Q: Why is the Chico Cares Campaign so important?

Poor nutrition and stress from unmet basic needs are proven to hinder student development and academic performance, which are the heart of Chico State's mission to educate and serve tomorrow’s leaders. If we continue to work together as a community, we can help address these challenges and provide a supportive environment that ensures the success of our students in need.

Q: How do I refer a student in need?

If you know a student who can use our services, please refer them to the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry in Student Services Center 196 or call 530-898-4099.

Q: I am a Chico State faculty or staff member; can I contribute through a payroll deduction?

Yes, you can join your colleagues by completing the University's Payroll Deduction Authorization Form. You can choose to apply your gift to either or both of the following funds.

Chico Cares Annual Fund #06824, which supports the immediate operating costs of the Basic Needs Project

Chico Cares Endowment #18006, which invests in the long-term needs of the Basic Needs Project. Your gift will be added to the endowed fund and invested. A portion is then used to help future students in need.   

You can also learn more about the various ways to give at

Q: How can I learn more about getting involved in the Chico State Basic Needs Project? 

Contact Joe Picard at 530-898-4099 to learn more about how to support the Chico State Basic Needs Project.

California State University, Chico
Basic Needs Project
400 West First Street
Chico, CA 95929-0125

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