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:
- Food is a basic right for all individuals.
- Everyone deserves access to healthy food, where they live, that they can get to.
- Everyone deserves access to foods that are familiar to them and fit their cultural, ability, and dietary needs.
- Working collaboratively with other campus and community organizations drives our mutual success.
- 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
Anyone Macalester student who is experiencing financial, health-related, or other challenges that may impact their access to food and other essentials. If a student is experiencing a greater need than Open Pantry can meet, they are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Affairs or Financial Aid. Students experiencing unanticipated financial hardship can also apply for Macalester Emergency Aid funds for support.
- Take items you will need until the following week or opening time.
- Make sure to write down items taken on the logging slips. This is anonymous and is not used to track students utilizing this resource, but is designed to track how much of each item is being used for purchasing.
- Make sure to also leave the space as clean as it was before.
- Please write any comments, questions, and suggestions in the “feedback” portion of the slips as well. These are checked weekly and all feedback is taken into consideration.
Below is a list of our most used/stocked foods, snacks, and other essentials. This is in no way a comprehensive list of all the items we have, but gives a nice overview for users and those giving donations:
Rice, pasta, macaroni and cheese, sauces, canned vegetables, canned beans, boxed cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix, peanut butter, jelly, honey, canned soups, ramen, canned fruit, applesauce, granola bars, protein bars, fresh produce, canned chicken, canned tuna, cooking oil, spices, instant meals, almond milk, soy milk.
We also stock other essentials and personal care items such as:
Bar soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, pads and tampons, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, and dish soap.
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
There is a question on the FAFSA application about SNAP benefits, but receiving those benefits will not reduce any student’s financial aid.
International Students are not eligible for SNAP benefits because they would count as a public charge and that would affect their immigration status now and in the future. If students have questions, they should contact International Student Programs.
You are instructed to apply to the SNAP program in the state of your current residence. Information on individual state programs can be found on the SNAP State Directory of Resources. Please be sure to read the eligibility criteria. If you have questions about whether or not you meet certain criteria for eligibility, please contact your current state of residence’s SNAP office.
The exemption that allows students to access SNAP benefits, when they traditionally would not have been eligible, will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 Public Health emergency is lifted. The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service will update the webpage explaining the temporary exemption when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.
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!