Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center at CSUF sees steady increase in use

In Campus News, News
(Gabe Gandara / Daily Titan)

UPDATE: This story was updated on May 2, 2018 at 9:10 p.m. to correct information regarding how students can receive free hygiene products.

A lack of knowledge about Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center at CSUF has left students in the dark when it comes to receiving assistance with food insecurity and housing, said Bergenia Yu, president of Ability PR, a student-run public relations firm.

Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center, located in McCarthy Hall 143, officially opened on Feb. 14 and provides students with hygiene products, housing assistance and food banks.

Student usage of these services has increased steadily. Yu said unawareness about this new center is a roadblock for students who aren’t already taking advantage of the free supplies.

“It’s just really unfortunate because there are so many students on campus that I know of who are experiencing food and housing insecurity, but they don’t know what resources are available to them,” Yu said.

In addition to the center being new to campus, the stigma attached to asking for help may be another reason why students aren’t going to the center, Yu said.

“But honestly that’s what this service is for. We’re here to help students whenever possible and the best thing about this service is that everything is anonymous,” Yu said.

Before students receive free hygiene products, they have to swipe their Titan ID card at the center but their information is kept confidential. They also have to take a survey about how they heard about the service, if they would refer it to a friend, if the service helped them and what products they need. 

The students who visit the center can grab any three hygiene products such as soap, razors or toothbrushes, but are limited to full-sized items once a month.

Feminine products such as pads, tampons and lightly used business clothes are also provided for free at Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center.

The goal of the program is to help students in need and put students first by raising awareness of the services that are provided, Yu said.

“The most frequently asked question is where can I donate or how can I donate. Which is really empowering to see that even though the students who don’t need these services that we’re offering are at least willing to give us a helping hand,” Yu said.

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