Someday, UC San Francisco medical student Hailey hopes to save many lives – but for right now, she is the one who needs a little bit of saving.
The 25-year-old has her sights set on becoming a surgeon. But living in San Francisco and attending one of the most prestigious medical schools in all the land has its drawbacks – specifically, the cost of living. “I don’t have an income right now – it’s all student loans – so every month is a struggle when it comes to paying rent and surviving,” she says.
Hailey recently learned she was eligible to enroll in CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps. The Food Bank has an entire team of employees, dedicated to helping eligible individuals enroll in the program. One of the most successful locations, in terms of sign-ups, is the UCSF Parnassus campus.
Now, Hailey gets $190 from CalFresh to spend on groceries. “It’s given me flexibility in my monthly budgeting and has allowed me to make healthier choices every day.”
She’s not alone. Since the beginning of the year, the Food Bank has worked with campus officials and the San Francisco Human Services Agency to make CalFresh a part of UCSF’s overall financial aid strategy. Enrollment events were held once or twice a month during the fall semester, and the program is really starting to take off.
“Since we started working with UCSF early this year, 186 students have been approved for CalFresh through our events, resulting in over $34,000 a month in benefits,” says Food Bank CalFresh Outreach Manager, Francesca Costa. “We are so grateful for UCSF’s partnership in supporting students through the CalFresh application process. The tearful hugs and deep gratitude from students we have helped enroll make it clear that we are meeting an important need here on campus.”