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    Chico State Basic Needs

    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 we have been able to expand and improve our basic needs services, making a positive difference for thousands of Chico State students.

    Thanks to you, in the last year we have:

    Served more than 6,000 students, supporting an average of 200 pantry visits per day.

    Distributed more than 50 tons of healthy food, an equivalent of 83,000 meals.

    Assisted hundreds of Camp Fire-affected students and families with emergency housing, emergency grants and ongoing assistance.

    Through direct purchase and gleaning, 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 eligibility screening and direct application assistance.

    Initiated a food waste education campaign and rescued more than 20,000 pounds of food from local grocers, food warehouses and Associated Students catered events.

    Assisted dozens of students with off-campus housing support and placed 45 homeless and/or displaced students in emergency through University Housing and community partnerships (e.g., CHAT).

    Provided more than $18,000 in emergency grants and employment opportunities for students in unexpected financial crisis and in need of temporary employment.

    Facilitated more than 60 student volunteers and supported service learning opportunities and 4 paid student internships.


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

    Through the 2018 research study, the California State University estimated that 500 Chico State students will find themselves displaced or homeless during the academic year. The housing challenge has increased significantly since the disaster, as the local housing market has not been able to keep up with demand, increasing the rents and financial stress throughout the community.

    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?

    While the heart of Chico State’s mission is to educate and serve tomorrow’s leaders, poor nutrition and stress from unmet basic needs are proven to hinder these goals. 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 Application for Assistance on the Basic Needs website for eligibility requirements. Please also encourage your students to visit Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry in the Student Services Center, Room 196 or call 530-898-4098 for basic needs assistance.

    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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