What is Open Pantry?

Open Pantry was created during 2017 by the Student Services and Relations Committee, within Macalester’s Student Government, in order to address food insecurity at Macalester. It is designed to be a supplemental source that helps students fulfill the disparity in obtaining some essentials throughout the academic year and during summers.

Open Pantry is located in Campus Center 227 (the former SORC). It is open during all Campus Center operating hours:

Monday – Friday – 7 a.m. – 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.


The Macalester Open Pantry exists to ensure all students have access to healthy food in a timely manner.  We believe in the following principles that help center our work in supporting students:

  1. Food is a basic right for all individuals.
  2. Everyone deserves access to healthy food, where they live, that they can get to.
  3. Everyone deserves access to foods that are familiar to them and fit their cultural, ability, and dietary needs.
  4. Working collaboratively with other campus and community organizations drives our mutual success.
  5. Operating in a way that supports equity, sustainability and fairness to all builds a stronger campus community.

If you are interested in making a donation of items, please ensure all items are in the original manufacturer packaging, have not been opened, and are not past the best by or expired date.

Open Pantry FAQ

Students and SNAP Benefits

The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, temporarily expands SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits eligibility to include students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education, who either:

  • Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work-study during the regular school year, as determined by the institution of higher education, or
  • Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year.

Beginning on Jan. 16, 2021, students who meet one of the two criteria outlined above may receive SNAP if they meet all other financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria.

Please be sure to read all of the updates to the new and temporary extension of student eligibility for SNAP Benefits.

Students & SNAP Benefits FAQ

Want to donate?

We will gratefully accept donations of food or personal care items to Open Pantry, as long as they meet our guidelines. Donations can be dropped off outside CC 233 near the dry-erase board and MCSG office. We will log them and then place them out for use. If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please use our donation site. Please be sure to read through the donation guidelines thoroughly:

We do not accept food or personal care products where one or more of the following guidelines apply:

  • Items needing refrigeration (we do not have the capabilities to store perishables at this time)
  • Expired food: Please check the “use-by,” “best-by” or “sell-by” date on the packaging.
  • Leftovers: We do not accept any food item that has been prepared in a home kitchen as we cannot verify the ingredients. These items are also not individually sealed. This guideline is to help ensure the safety of those using the pantry.
  • Items with packaging concerns: Food with damaged packaging (IE, dented cans, bloated cans, things already opened) is a safety concern. Seals could be damaged and the food could be contaminated with bacteria or viruses from being previously opened. A good rule of thumb is “if you wouldn’t consider buying it new/paying full price for it, don’t donate it.”
  • Baked Goods: We are unable to confirm if these were made using food safety protocols or what their ingredients are, which is a major concern for those with allergens.
  • Pre-Used Personal Care Items: We do not accept opened or used shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. Again – if you wouldn’t consider paying full price for it or buying that item new, please do not donate it.”

Thank you for your generosity!