Learn All About It: Resource Fairs for Basic Needs and Food Security

Display of flyers about Basic Needs resources at UCSF

This spring, UCSF’s Basic Needs and Food Security team continues to spread the word about a range of new services for students. At a series of Resource Fairs at Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses, they invite all UCSF students to drop in for a bite to eat plus a few sound bites about available resources.

At the April 10 Resource Fair in the Genentech Hall Student Lounge at Mission Bay, it was clear that many students are already benefiting from the Food 4 UCSF Students app, which went live in fall 2017. While students munched on wraps, Office of Student Life staffers Alece Alderson and Noemi Hollander filled them in on some newer initiatives, like the increasingly popular Student Food Market, launched in February, as well as ride service subsidies, which can help students to reach a grocery store or to get home safely after UCSF shuttle services shuts down for the day. Students also heard about CalFresh, a government-funded program offering food assistance to eligible students. Students could also enter a lottery to participate in "Instant Pot" cooking classes to be led by a professional chef at Parnassus campus.

Nicolas Strauli, a student in the Biomedical Sciences PhD program, really appreciates the Food 4 UCSF Students app: “I get the text messages when there’s free food available on campus.…I think it’s pretty nice…for one, food’s not going to waste – I always hate to see food waste. Also, it’s oftentimes around evening when food becomes available, and if you’re working late into the night it’s pretty helpful – you don’t have to worry about leaving, trying to find dinner, spending a bunch of money.” Did any other resources he just heard about pique Strauli's interest? “I learned about the Student Food Market, which I’m going to check out,” he said.

About their effort to get the word out to students, Alece Alderson says, “We want students to know that there are resources that exist on campus to help them with basic needs and food access. The student Resource Fairs are a way for us to meet students and share a variety of options with them, such as the Student Food Market, the Lyft pilot program for food access, CalFresh, and more. At the same time, the fairs help us to connect with students who may be struggling and to keep them from falling through the cracks.”

Additional Resource Fairs are slated for the coming weeks at both Mission Bay and Parnassus.

See the schedule and learn more about the programs mentioned above at basicneeds.ucsf.edu.