Student food pantry finds a home on Central Campus


Clara Martorano

Snow melts in front of the Hills Agricultural Building, Jan. 25. The building is set to become the home of Rally Cat’s Cupboard and Closet, an on-campus food pantry and thrift store.

Zoe Stern, Assistant News Editor

A project that was started last year to address food insecurity on campus has found a place to open. 

Rally Cat’s Cupboard, a food pantry created by SGA, is designed to help food insecure undergraduate, graduate and medical students. 

It will be will open Feb. 24 and is located in Hills Agricultural Science building, which is connected to the Marsh Life Sciences building.   

The idea was formed last year by senior Ethan Foley, former SGA president.

“Rally Cat’s Cupboard and Closet is the on-campus food pantry and thrift store that I created last year as president,” Foley said. “It is going to be a place for students who might be challenged by food insecurity on a regular basis or at all can go to receive a little bit of extra help.”

Work will continue on the thrift store portion of the project, which has not yet been approved. 

Foley advocated for the idea of a food pantry because of the responsibility SGA has to UVM students to respond to needs UVM students are currently facing. 

“That’s what the role of SGA is and that is what the role of SGA should be,” Foley said. “It’s looking at issues on campus and saying how can we make a real difference in the lives of students, faculty and community members alike.”

A survey run by assistant professor of food systems Meredith Niles found that 26% of UVM undergraduate students have experienced food insecurity. 

Someone who is food insecure lacks access to healthy food for a healthy lifestyle, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture website.  

Current SGA President Jillian Scannell, a senior, has been working on finding the food pantry a permanent location. 

“I worked with [Vice Provost] Annie Stevens and other people to try and find a space on campus,” Scannell said. “We finally identified one this past October, which is in Hills.” 

It will consist of non-perishable goods, with the hope to eventually add perishable items, Scannell said. 

All students need to access the food pantry is their CATcard, Scannell said. 

The thrift store aspect of Rally Cat’s Cupboard was put on hold, Scannell said.

The food pantry has been given funding from SGA, Sodexo, the Division of Student Affairs and an anonymous donor. 

“SGA last year set aside $5,000 to cover start up costs, so that went towards cleaning, painting and reserving the room,” Scannell said. “Sodexo received a $1,000 grant that they gave [SGA].”