ASI combats food insecurity with free food vouchers for students


Diego Vargas/The Collegian

Food vouchers can be used at the University Dining Hall and have a value of $12.

By Jazmin Alvarado, Reporter

One week remains in a program by Associated Students Inc. to combat food insecurity by providing a limited number of food vouchers to Fresno State students.

After a year of research that was funded by ASI, 280 food vouchers were made available starting April 10.

The food vouchers are worth $12 and can be used at the University Dining Hall.

The vouchers are available Monday through Friday in the ASI office in the Resnick Student Union Room 303. There are 14 vouchers distributed daily on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m.

Karen Carrillo, the 2023-24 ASI president elect, has been collecting data and research since spring 2022 to be able to provide and fund food vouchers for students.

Carrillo’s goal with the vouchers is to provide students with a worry-free meal at least once a week. She wants to be able to help students with any food insecurities they may have.

“This initiative focuses on providing one food voucher per student who faces food insecurity. Students are allowed up to one food voucher a week, and food vouchers are available to any student,” Carrillo said.

The week of May 1 through May 5 will be the last week the food vouchers are available for the spring 2023 semester.

After the last week of distribution, Carrillo will be surveying the students who used the resource to collect further feedback on how the service can be improved.

The inspiration from the project came in 2020 when a former ASI executive vice president presented the idea.

During this time the pandemic was ongoing, and therefore the project was not able to be executed.

Carrillo received over 100 responses and presented the data to the executive board following her research.

“Through this data I was able to present it to my executive board in order to justify the need behind wanting to fund food vouchers. This proposal was approved unanimously,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo said this service is in high demand, and that ASI is keeping track of the students who take advantage of this resource.

“Just based on how many students come in a day for a food voucher, speaks for itself on how this initiative is bigger than what ASI can provide,” she said.

According to Carrillo, it is not feasible for ASI to continue to fund the project beyond the Fall 2023 semester. She hopes to receive support from the university and other departments on campus.

“My plan is for ASI to fund one more semester of food vouchers to distribute, with appropriate accommodations after receiving the feedback from our students. Afterwards, I hope to receive the support from the university, administrators and other programs that can take over this initiative and help further fund it to help make this full-term,” she said.