Human Resources

Service and Civic Engagement: Basic Needs Spotlight

November 13, 2023

Food security is an issue that impacts our community throughout the year but is even more concerning during the holiday season when many individuals and families may be facing increased challenges. This week, we will spotlight the Basic Needs team and their impactful work to address food security in the CSUMB community. Also, other volunteer opportunities for providing food assistance.

CSU Basic Needs Initiative

basic needs logo

We live in an exciting era when more students than ever are attending college. According to The National Center for Education Statistics, in the Fall of 2016, an unprecedented 20.5 million students attended American Colleges and Universities. Within the 23 campus California State University (CSU) system alone, we enroll 484,000 students. While these numbers reflect tremendous progress for student access to education there is an underlying set of concerns. Education budgets have been reduced while the cost of attendance has increased, leaving many college students under enormous pressure to make ends meet.

In California, a state that consistently has one of the highest costs of living, students are seeking resources just to maintain their basic needs so they can remain in school. The CSU has recognized these concerns and demonstrated leadership in addressing them. The Chancellor's Office has directed resources towards the Basic Needs Initiative. This innovative set of programs exists to support and involve all of the 23 campuses in research, resource cultivation, capacity building, education and outreach, networking, and ultimately student success.

Here at CSUMB, we are working on the issue in a multitude of ways, including an on-campus Food Pantry, called The Hub, CalFresh Food Outreach, and an interdisciplinary Basic Needs Committee. Associated Students created the position of Basic Needs Senator, devoted entirely to supporting the efforts of Basic Needs and the cultivation of other resources to support students. Additionally, CSUMB was awarded SB 85 “Hunger-Free” Campus Designation funds to both bolster our existing efforts and find more innovative and cost-effective ways to help students. Learn more

CSUMB Basic Needs Mission

The CSUMB Basic Needs Initiative endeavors to support students to be successful by ensuring their basic needs are met through resources, access and advocacy. Learn more.

Service Opportunities:


The team can always use an extra set of hands. 

  • Volunteering opportunities include:
    • Assisting with unloading and stocking after a food delivery, or using your own vehicle, preferably a big one, such as an SUV or a truck to pick up and transport food or other goods to The Hub. 
    • Join us on a Produce Truck Day when the free produce truck from the Monterey County Food Bank comes to campus. We need help signing students in, and wrapping up the event. It is twice a month on a Wednesday, 12-2pm
    • Assist with any big events or tabling opportunities!
    • Share recipes through the Cooking with CSUMB program

Contact the team via email at to volunteer.


Basic Needs is grateful to receive donations. Besides a monetary donation, these are the most frequently requested items:

  • Rice (white, brown, jasmine, microwavable bowls are good too)
  • Beans (dry or canned)
  • Pasta (any form)
  • Marinara sauce
  • Nut butter
  • Jams and jellies
  • Canned tuna
  • Dried fruit (apricots, peaches, mangoes)
  • Granola bars, Clif bars
  • Cereal
  • Non-refrigerated milk (oat, soy, almond)
  • Reusable bags
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • Bar soap

Other Service Opportunities with Monterey 

  • Food Bank For Monterey County
    • Volunteers are the heart and soul of our efforts to provide food assistance. Every year, volunteers donate more than 40,000 hours of labor. This invaluable gift of time and effort helps us focus on delivering food where it’s needed most.
  • Meals on Wheels
    • The Meals on Wheels network is comprised of 5,000 community-based programs across the country dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. The need is great, but Together, We Can Deliver.™
  • ALL-IN Monterey
    • All In Monterey County has a number of volunteer opportunities throughout the year and we welcome helpers anytime.  See their website for brief descriptions of some of those opportunities.

By volunteering and supporting food assistance initiatives, you can make a positive impact on the lives of those facing food insecurity in your community, not just during the holiday season but throughout the year. Collaborative efforts can help ensure that everyone has access to the food they need.