With unprecedented support from the community, the fifth annual March Match Up campaign benefitting Fresno State’s Student Cupboard — a food and hygiene pantry for Fresno State students — exceeded its boldest goal yet, raising $327,275 from 434 individual donors and community partners.

Mary Castro, Fresno State’s first lady who has volunteered to spearhead the campaign since its inception, expressed deep gratitude while revealing the final total in a video.

The Student Cupboard relies on the annual March Match Up campaign, which runs from March 1 through 31, to generate the funds necessary to provide this on-campus basic needs resource.

The expanding needs of Fresno State students have sent the campaign into overtime, Mary Castro said. While the March Match Up website is no longer accepting donations, supporters can continue to give online in the coming weeks and months.

“The needs of our students are greater than ever before. The success of this campaign was crucial in order to serve whatever lies ahead,” Mary Castro said. “I am truly grateful for the response and support of our community. In a time of monumental crisis, they demonstrated that they know Fresno State students are valuable to our future. They want them to succeed. They believe in them. Students need to know this especially during this time of isolation and uncertainty. Every donor made this possible, dollar by dollar we pulled together for one purpose — to feed future leaders.”

Fresno State’s Student Cupboard provides free food and hygiene items to students who may be struggling while working toward academic achievement. The cupboard is one of many initiatives supporting student success.

More than 43% of Fresno State students surveyed said they had experienced some level of food insecurity in the past year, according to a 2017 California State University study. During the last academic year, 6,073 students visited the Cupboard totaling 57,265 visits.

Students and faculty have transitioned to virtual instruction in recent weeks to accommodate social distancing on campus in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fresno State remains committed to keeping the Student Cupboard open for students during its regular hours to help students who may be experiencing financial setbacks and other hardships during this time. Adjustments have been made to protect shopping students.

Currently, staff members are meeting students at the door of the Student Cupboard, located in the Grosse Industrial Technology building (Room 144), to verify enrollment and hand out pre-assembled bags of food. Only Student Cupboard employees are allowed inside. Social distancing markers have been placed outside of the doors so students maintain a safe distance apart when they are in line.

Because of the steady need by students during this uncertain time, Fresno State is continuing its efforts beyond the original campaign dates to raise additional funds for the ongoing basic needs of students, including food insecurity, emergencies, mental health and wellbeing and access to technology.

Generous community partners — Moss Adams, LLP, Granville Homes, Lou and Jane Amendola of Valley Wide Beverage, and an anonymous donor — provided $150,000 in matching funds, allowing donations from members of the community to be doubled dollar for dollar.

Other community partners also contributed to March Match Up and generated financial support, including Dutch Bros., Macy’s, Gibson Farm Market, the California Restaurant Association and Sal’s Mexican Restaurants.

For more information on how to support the basic needs of students at this time, contact David Hembree at 559.278.5052 or dhembree@csufresno.edu. For more information about the Student Cupboard and its services, contact Jessica Medina at 559.278.6621.