Skip to content

If you’re experiencing ongoing financial hardship that affects your access to food, you’re encouraged to review the “If You’re Struggling Financially” section and follow the recommendations presented there, including visiting the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Career Services, or a social worker. Students can also visit UCSB’s Associated Students Food Bank and other community food banks listed below. Graduate students in particular may be eligible for the CalFresh program. Students who would like to learn about additional low-cost food resources in the community can call the 2-1-1 Santa Barbara County helpline by dialing 211 or visit

Associated Students Food Bank at UCSB
The Associated Students (A.S.) Food Bank is an on-campus service that provides food and toiletries at no cost to graduate and undergraduate students. To utilize the service, students should bring an Access card or log in to GOLD on a Food Bank computer to verify they are a current registered student. The A.S. Food Bank is open three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Students are welcome to come in all three days if necessary. The pantry is located on the 3rd floor of the University Center (UCen) in room 3167A. To learn more about the food bank, including up-to-date hours of operation, visit or call the office at (805) 893-2276.

Café Picasso
A service of St. Michael’s University Church, Café Picasso is dedicated to supporting university students by offering a food pantry (accessible upon request) and weekly dinners on Fridays from 6-8 p.m., as well as a safe space for students to find support. It is located at 6586 Picasso Road in Isla Vista. For more information, see or contact Reverend Nicole Janelle at (805) 968-2712.

CalFresh is a federal government nutrition program designed to supplement the food budget of eligible individuals and families. The program issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy most foods at markets and grocery stores using a card that works just like a bank or a debit card. You may be eligible for this if you or someone in your household has a Social Security number and your gross household income is below a certain level ($1,180 for 1 person; $1,594 for 2 people; $2,008 for 3 people; $2,422 for 4 people; and so on). For the purposes of this program, a household is defined as a unit that “buys and prepares food together” (individual roommates who don’t buy and prepare food together are considered separate households). If you would like to learn whether you’re eligible and receive help with the application process, you can contact the outreach manager for CalFresh at Santa Barbara Foodbank, Amy Lopez, by calling (805) 967-5741 ext. 115 or emailing Detailed information can be found at

Community Food Banks
If you’re not able to access the Associated Students Food Bank on campus due to scheduling conflicts or if you need items not available there (fresh produce, etc.), you can also use local community food banks.

  • Catholic Charities I.V. mobile food distribution is available every Thursday 3:30-4:30 p.m. at 6550 Picasso Road. (between Embarcadero del Norte and Embarcadero del Mar) in Isla Vista.
  • Visit Santa Barbara Foodbank at for additional locations.

Community Supported Agriculture and Work Exchange
Community supported agriculture may be a great option if you’re interested in fresh, local, organic food. If you would like to lower your costs, you might consider splitting a subscription or “share” with a friend or roommate. Here are just two among many local CSAs to choose from:

  • Fairview Gardens. Fairview Gardens is a non-profit organization that offers low-cost shares of seasonal organic produce delivered weekly to campus for approximately $25/week (half share). Students who have signed up can pick up their shares at Bren Hall on Thursdays after 2:30 p.m. Fairview Gardens will also offer work exchange opportunities where fresh produce is exchanged for time spent working on the farm. To request this, call (805) 967-7369. Fairview Gardens is located at 598 N. Fairview Avenue, just north of the City of Goleta Public Library. For more information, visit
  • Plow to Porch. This organization delivers fresh, seasonal organic/pesticide-free produce and “add-ons” (including eggs, honey, fair trade organic coffees and teas, grass-fed antibiotic/hormone-free meats, and local sustainable fish) to your home weekly or every other week. Produce boxes can be picked up on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at their market location at 3204 State Street in Santa Barbara between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. for a $1.50 discount per box. For more information, visit
    The Buyer’s Club program at the Isla Vista Food Co-op is available to individuals or groups who wish to purchase items in cases and bulk quantities for significant savings compared with shelf prices. The Co-op is open to the public but you must be a current member-owner to participate in the Buyer’s Club. The Isla Vista Food Co-op is located at 6575 Seville in Isla Vista and can be reached at (805) 968-1401 or
  • Social Worker Support
    If you are regularly having difficulty providing for your food or other basic needs, you can speak with a social worker to learn about additional resources and long-term solutions. UCSB social workers can help identify your needs and work with you on a plan of action. Unlike other services, social workers may be available to students after they have withdrawn from UCSB and can assist with the transition to community resources. To schedule an appointment, call (805) 893-3087.