Cal Nourish 2019: Give our students a gift of food

December 9, 2019

 Human Resources


Cal Nourish - Give a gift of food to Berkeley Students in need!

In 2015 Human Resources, in partnership with CE3, created Cal Nourish to provide an official way for UC Berkeley staff to help out students who do not have enough funds to feed themselves and their families during the annual curtailment break. Cal Nourish began simply by collecting gift cards to local grocery stores. Five years and tens of thousands of dollars later, we are fully digital, partnering again with our friends at UDAR for wider reach and secure giving. In addition, for the first time, the University’s academic employees will join us in this effort.

According to the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey, 1 in every 5 UC Berkeley students self-report having to “skip meals in order to save money.” Finding money for food over the holidays can be an especially tough challenge for many of our students. This year we are again focused on helping those who are currently proven to be the most food insecure, including undocumented students, former foster youth, student parents and those formerly incarcerated.

"As a student parent, my daughter and I can't thank you enough for giving us the ability to buy the necessities to eat for a week. Thank you Cal community."
4th-year Transfer Student and Student Parent

How can I help?
Individuals, or departments, are invited to donate via the university’s official Berkeley Students Basic Needs Fund giving portal -

“...I don’t have food security on a daily basis, and I often have to skip meals. Having the right nutrients that don’t contain so much processed chemicals is also essential for me to maintain better health."
Cognitive Science, 2nd-year student

How will students get my gift?
With the input and support of our friends and campus partners, the Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence (CE3) will allocate and distribute the funds raised to those students proven to be most in need in time for the holiday break.

"This really made an impact because it allowed me to budget money on materials and rent. Usually, I hold back from purchasing food because I wouldn’t be able to pay these expenses. It relieved some stress from skipping meals."
Political Science, 2nd-year student

What about others who need support with food?
While this program focuses on students, we do realize that many members of the UC Berkeley community need support. We are currently reviewing the recommendations from the Staff Basic Needs Working Group that were presented this week to better understand how we can extend resources to our employees in need. The Basic Needs Center currently provides support to all employees in need, including through the UC Berkeley Food Pantry.

Any questions about Cal Nourish can be emailed to

Thank you for any support you can provide this holiday season.

Eugene & Ben

Eugene Whitlock, AVC-HR
Benjamin Hermalin, Vice Provost for the Faculty


If you are a manager who supervises UC Berkeley employees without email access, please circulate this information to all.


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