Basic Needs Security

Food Access and Assistance During COVID-19

All members of the UC Berkeley community in need of support maintaining safe and stable access to food and other resources during COVID-19 can refer to this living document from the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center.

Staff Basic Needs Working Group

During COVID-19 we are mobilizing food distribution to staff in need.

Founded in fall 2018, the Staff Basic Needs Working Group provides food, housing, and economic resources for UC Berkeley’s staff, postdocs, and visiting researchers. We work to make the Basic Needs Center programming accessible to all employees, and provide targeted outreach and services for Berkeley’s most vulnerable staff populations. We also research, innovate, advocate, and engage in coalition building to lead systemic changes to improve the basic needs security of the University’s employees.

During the first year, the Working Group focused on coalition building and learning, to understand the scope and nuances of staff food, housing, and economic insecurity among various employee populations, and raise this important issue with relevant UC Berkeley leadership. Simultaneously, we performed extensive outreach, particularly on food security resources, through the creation and distribution of trilingual outreach materials and holding multiple staff-specific food security events. As a result of our efforts, staff visits to the UC Berkeley Food Pantry have increased from zero to 250 unique visitors averaging ~550 visits per month.

In 2019-20 we are continued to expand our food security efforts and beginning to address the complexities of housing insecurity.

The Working Group is composed of volunteers from the Basic Needs Center, Berkeley Food Institute, Employee Assistance Program, Be Well at Work, Human Resources, Chancellor’s Staff Advisory Committee, Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs Program, Residential Student Services Program, and Facilities Services.

To get involved, contact Rosalie Z. Fanshel, Program Manager, Berkeley Food Institute, at


Basic Needs Security at UC Berkeley

Basic Needs Security (BNS) refers to the food, housing, and financial security of our community. We understand that basic needs have a direct impact on the mental-emotional-physical health, wellness, academic performance, professional development, and holistic success of our students, as well as on the mental-emotional-physical health and wellness of our staff and faculty. Within the food security sphere of BNS, UC Berkeley offers the following resources to students and members of the campus community:

  • CalFresh Clinics
  • Food Assistance Program
  • UC Berkeley Food Pantry
  • Gardening and Farming Skills
  • Nutritional Science and Toxicology Food Security Courses
  • University Health Services
  • USDA Eat Fresh

For more information on these resources, visit the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center website.

Learn more about Basic Needs Security at the University of California: