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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, basic needs grants and affordable housing for students experiencing significant financial stress, unstable housing and poverty.

    THANKS TO YOU we remain OPEN and ACTIVE in our service to students in Chico and throughout California!

    Through your generous support we have been able to expand and improve our basic needs services, despite the pandemic, making a positive difference for thousands of Chico State students, staff and their families.

    Thanks to you, in the last year we have:

    • The Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry has remained OPEN since last March. Our Pantry staff and volunteers will distribute more than 50 tons of food (an equivalent of 83,000 meals) and hygiene products to an estimated 4,000 students, staff and their families this pandemic year.
    • Through direct purchase and gleaning, the Pantry continues to distribute tons of high quality, sustainably grown organic produce through the University Farm’s Organic Vegetable Project and several other local farmers and growers. 
    • Students request for grant and housing services have jumped more than 250% this pandemic year, as Basic Needs staff works to retain hundreds of students with food, grants and rental assistance to combat the rising levels of poverty amongst students and their families.
    • During the pandemic Basic Needs is a front line for campus public health providing direct housing, food assistance and referrals to dozens of students in quarantine. The Pantry actively distributes sanitizing agents, masks and testing information to all participants.
    • Basic Needs staff has housed 29 students who were homeless in Chico and has assisted dozens of Chico State students throughout California in securing safe and stable housing and other basic needs.
    • Since 2016, Basic Needs in collaboration with University Housing, Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) and True North Housing Alliance and has housed more than 130 Chico State students who were homeless allowing them to continue their education.
    • Currently, Basic Needs manages a five-bed shelter house and through partners, houses homeless students in several properties in Chico.
    • Supported more than 1,500 students in their quest to receive CalFresh USDA SNAP food assistance providing millions of dollars in food aid and resulting local economic impact to local grocery stores, farmers market and the co-op natural foods market.
    • Basic Needs is a CalRecycle Grant community partner and actively participates in food waste education, food rescue and grocery recovery programs, diverting more than 10 tons of food from California landfills annually.
    • 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 $75,000 in basic needs grants and employment opportunities for students in unexpected financial crisis and in need of temporary employment. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How many Chico State students experience food insecurity?

    Current California State University research study indicates that about HALF of Chico State students suffer from low to very low food security. That’s more than 8,000 individuals!

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

    Recent California State University, Chico 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 student homelessness 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 open 9:30am-12:30pm weekdays 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? 

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

    California State University, Chico
    Basic Needs – Student Services Center 196
    400 West First Street
    Chico, CA 95929-0125

    Follow us at @HungryWildcats!

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