23 Food Cupboards & Pantries at PA Colleges and Universities

College is an exciting time, when many young adults are experiencing their first real taste of freedom and living away from home. However, food insecurity is an acute problem that many students struggle with during this period.

A report released in 2023 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education shared alarming data about food insecurity and homelessness on college campuses in the U.S. The report showed that 23% of undergraduates and 12% of graduate students experience food insecurity, and that 8% of undergraduate and 5% of graduate students experience homelessness. These numbers are even higher at for-profit colleges, historically Black colleges, and universities and tribal colleges and universities.

Many colleges and universities have responded by developing on-campus resources to combat food insecurity. In Pennsylvania, there are higher educational institutions both large and small that have started food pantries and cupboards offering free food to anyone on campus — many of them are also part of Pennsylvania’s Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, which you can learn more about here. Most of these pantries are run by students and volunteers and are stocked thanks to donations from across campus and the community.

Western PA

Penn State Behrend Lion’s Pantry: Located in the Smith Chapel with Monday through Friday, year-round pick-up, the Lion’s Pantry is an innovative approach to battling food insecurity on campus at Penn State Behrend. Use the contact-less ordering system through the icon on the Penn State Go app to order once a week. The Lion’s Pantry stocks a number of food items, as well as personal care items including disposable and sustainable period products. Erie.

Duquesne University McAnulty Community Food Pantry: This project is part of the University’s Center for Migration, Displacement, and Community Studies. The Food Pantry offers food and other needs for students, faculty and staff to combat food insecurity on campus.  The Migration Club (part of McAnulty College of Liberal Arts) keeps the shelves stocked through food drives and via local partners, including The Pittsburgh Food Bank. It’s located in College Hall Room 347, 348, 349 and 350, and is open during the hours listed on the website. Pittsburgh.

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University of Pittsburgh Pitt Pantry: This pantry, which serves the entire Pitt community, is a place where anyone can come for resources like food (both fresh, frozen and shelf-stable), as well as household items and toiletries, shelf-stable foods. Many items are chosen with dietary restrictions in mind, like gluten-free and Halal. Many of the items are purchased from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and others are purchased elsewhere. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own bags! There are no sign-ups or appointments necessary; simply come with a Pitt I.D. during open hours. Pitt Pantry is located in the O’Hara Student Center. Pittsburgh.

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Carnegie Mellon University CMU Pantry: Open to all undergraduate and graduate students, the CMU Pantry is open for blocks of time every day but Sunday. Shoppers are welcome to visit the Pantry once each week.; a Pantry Shopping Form must be filled out for every visit. The Pantry is located at the Residence on Fifth Avenue (4700 Fifth Avenue). Pittsburgh.

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Indiana University of Pennsylvania Food Pantry and Help Center: For the past 5 years, the IUP Food Pantry has actively helped relieve food insecurity-related stress for students by offering free food and supplies. This project started with a series of pop-up pantries in 2018, and moved into its permanent location in Wallwork Hall (lower level, next to the courtyard) in 2019. It’s currently open Monday through Friday. Indiana.

Butler County Community College Pioneer Pantry: Students and employees are welcome to the Pioneer Pantry once each month, but emergency food bags and special distributions are also offered. This project is a collaboration between the Alliance for Nonprofit Resources and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Find the Pioneer Pantry in Room 100 of the Arts & Hospitality Building. Butler.

Westmoreland County Community College Food For Thoughts Food Pantries: With an open-door, no-questions-asked policy, this community college system’s Food For Thoughts pantries are a welcoming space for students. At the Youngwood campus, find this food pantry in the Student Achievement Center; other campuses, like the Fayette, Indiana, Murrysville, New Kensington and Latrobe centers also have Food for Thoughts Pantries. Youngwood.

North Central PA

university food pantry

Pennsylvania College of Technology The Cupboard: The Cupboard is the food pantry at Pennsylvania College of Technology, located in room 102 in the Bush Campus Center, just outside the Wildcat Express. There are a number of other pantry locations across campus, as well, including in the Klump Academic Center and the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center. Williamsport.

Lycoming College Food Pantry: Any commuter or residential students struggling with access to food can find staples like pasta, rice, soup, fruit, juice and cereal at Lycoming College’s on-campus food pantry is located on the 3rd floor of Wertz Student Center. Williamsport.

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Penn State Lion’s Pantry: There are Lion’s Pantry locations at numerous State College campuses (like in Erie, listed above), including its main University Park campus in State College. This resource opened in 2014 to address food insecurity on campus, and is located between the Lion’s Surplus and the Blue Band Building on Services Road behind the Katz Law Building. Food, cleaning and personal supplies are available. Other on-campus resources include the Personal Attire Closet and Project Cahir, which offers pre-packaged toiletries. Note: The Lion’s Pantry building is currently closed for renovations; see here for more info.

South Central PA

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Shippensburg University Big Red’s Cupboard: Funded by grants from Swipe Out Hunger, a nonprofit addressing college student hunger, and The GIANT Company, Big Red’s Cupboard is open to all students. Its shelves are stocked with the basics, and it frequently organizes van trips to scratch and dent grocery stores so students can pick up discounted groceries. Shippensburg.

Elizabethtown College Blue Jay Pantry: Founded by the College’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement, and supported with donations from the community, the Blue Jay Pantry provides undergrad and graduate students with free, non-perishable food items. It’s open 24/7 in the Brossoman Commons. Elizabethtown.

Millersville University The Campus Cupboard: The straightforward tagline of this campus resource is, “Making sure every student has enough to eat.” And that’s precisely what it does with free food available for Millersville students, who are welcome to come in once per week during the semester. Visitors must fill out a simple form, and then can shop for whatever they need, like dry and canned goods, frozen meals, specialty items and personal hygiene products. The Campus Cupboard can be found in the HUB, which also offers free meals every week. Millersville.


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Kutztown University Bear Essentials Pantry: This well-stocked pantry provides easy access to students for non-perishable foods and products, personal care products and school supplies. Find the Bear Essentials Pantry in the McFarland Student Union Building; it’s open Monday through Friday. There’s also the KU Student Pantry KU Student Food Pantry, a satellite of Friend, Inc., located at the Lutheran Center, where fresh and dry foods, and personal items, can be obtained. Kutztown.

Lehigh Carbon Community College Cougar Cabinet: Any students, staff or faculty experiencing food insecurity or requiring supplemental food options or personal care items are welcome to the Cougar Cabinet. This pantry, supported through funding from the LCCC Foundation and the United Way in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank, allows members of the community to obtain food items once a  week during free, confidential visits (a LCCC ID card is required). There are locations at the main campus, the Donley Center in Allentown and the Morgan Center in Tamaqua. Schnecksville.

King’s College Student Food Pantry: One unique component of the Food Pantry at King’s College is that, in addition to offering free snacks and staple ingredients, it is equipped with a full kitchen where students can heat up hot pockets, soups and other prepared foods.The food pantry is located in the Shoval Center, and is open every week day. Wilkes-Barre.

Keystone College Giants’ Food Pantry: The Counseling and Well-Being Center at Keystone College opened and operates the Giants’ Food Pantry. This resource is open to all students with an active KeyKard; each person may visit once per month. The Food Pantry is located in the Counseling and Well-Being Center on the first floor of Tewksbury Hall. La Plume.

Southeastern PA

West Chester University Resource Pantry: This amazing campus location offers robust support to WCU students. The Food Pantry component is available to all undergraduate students and is open every weekday (find it on the lower level of Commonwealth Hall); the drop-in model means no appointments are required. There is also an online ordering portal. The pantry distributes non-perishable goods, fresh produce from the campus gardens, personal care items, school supplies and career clothing. It also offers educational programming and events, like cooking demonstrations, financial literacy and career readiness workshops. West Chester.

Villanova University Nova Nook: This discreet, safe space offers students in need a place to access food and personal items. It’s stocked with toiletries, non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. Nova Nook provides additional support during holidays and breaks when food operations on campus are limited. Food is available for self-service in the black cabinet in Dougherty 217, which is open every weekday. To request toiletries, use its online ordering system. Villanova.

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Haverford College The Nest Food Pantry: The Nest was established in 2020 to respond to the needs of food insecure students. Run by students, it’s available 24/7, and is restocked every week. A wide range of food options are available thanks to collaborations with HaverFarm and local food banks. Find The Nest on the ground floor of the Whitehead Campus Center. Haverford.

Delaware County Community College Student Resources Center: A survey of over 1,000 students in 2018, showed that 27% of students polled had experienced food insecurity; the college responded by opening the The Student Resource Center in 2020. A food pantry called the S.O.S. Zone supplies food, toiletries and school supplies, but the resources extend beyond that, from a textbook loan program to transportation assistance to mentoring programs. The Student Resources Center is located in Room 1301 of the Academic Building and is open Monday through Friday. Media.

Temple University Cherry Pantry: Temple is the largest university in Philadelphia and serves over 30,000 undergrad and graduate students each year. The on-campus food pantry is ready to meet the challenge of food insecurity; it’s well-stocked with dried goods, fresh produce and personal products (there is even a free vending machine with period supplies!). There are no eligibility requirements; anyone with an active OwlCard, including staff and faculty, may access the pantry once per week. Find the Cherry Pantry in the Howard Gittis Student Center, Room 224A. Philadelphia.

Drexel University Mario’s Market: Drexel provides a number of resources to ensure that no student has to worry about food as they pursue their academic goals. Mario’s Market is the on-campus food pantry, which is open to all students, staff and faculty with a valid DragonCard. It is located on the second floor of the Rush Building in the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The Student Meal Swipe Donation Program is another way that students can access free food; see here for more info. Philadelphia.

  • Feature photo: Temple University