History of the BU Food Pantry

How we got here

Supporting the food needs of our community goes way back! Food rescue programs started at the Community Service Center in the Spring of 1988 when a group of BU students decided that they wanted to make a difference in the food-related challenges observed in the community. Over the course of the last three decades, the Student Food Rescue has been one of the largest student-run food salvage programs in the country, receiving and distributing over 100,000 pounds in food donations annually. 

The Community Cares Food Pantry was established at BU’s Wheelock College in 2019 under the leadership of Stephanie Clendenin. Community Cares endeavored to end food insecurity for BU Wheelock students, but its doors were open to the entire BU community. This pantry was established with a combination of grants from The Wellbeing Project and the BU Wheelock Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Until Fall, 2022, it had been run solely by the student services staff and student employees of Wheelock College.

Our Community Cupboard, housed in BUMC’s Graduate Medical Sciences, was also established with support from a grant from The Wellbeing Project in Fall, 2020, as part of their “Making Ends Meet” initiative. Since then, the Community Cupboard has provided non-perishable goods and personal hygiene items to students on the BU Medical Campus.

Both pantries, launched as pilot programs and were an effort to address food insecurity among students.

In Spring, 2020, 4 students (Saahil Adusumilli SAR’ 22, Mary Campion CAS ’22, Eunice Lamothe CAS ’22, Alexia Lancea CAS ’22) joined the campus hunger challenge through Innovate and proposed Food@BU. After winning a $10,000 grant, these students now serve as advisors to food efforts at BU.


In the Spring of 2022, in an effort to ensure all students have access to the food support they need, the new office of Student Wellbeing initiated a movement toward a streamlined, “centralized” approach to addressing food insecurity on campus. In addition to supporting the seven dimensions of wellbeing, Student Wellbeing is committed to supporting students’ core needs, such as food, shelter and safety. Working with existing food pantries on campus, administrators and current students, Student Wellbeing has been focused on educating students about resources available to them, as well as providing a streamlined process for obtaining the food they need. The Food@BU logo serves as an umbrella to identify food resources available to our students, both at BU and in the greater Boston community.

Where are we now

In the Fall of 2022, Dr. Carrie Landa, Executive Director, Student Wellbeing and Dr. Ellen E. Faszewski, Associate Dean for Student Affairs at BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, partnered to submit a proposal for funding from the Commonwealth. Student Wellbeing received $75K to address food insecurity at BU and educate our students about how they can make nutritious and budget friendly choices. This funding was from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

In 2023, Student Wellbeing officially launched the BU Food Pantry. This one, comprehensive food pantry will be staffed by students and professional staff who will stock food, process request forms and fulfill food orders for our students.

Moving into the future, students will have one stop access to the food support they need.

Interested in getting involved to support food needs on campus? Email BUfood@bu.edu or sign up to be Wellbeing Champion. Host a food drive with your team or group and/or donate to the BU Food Pantry.

Learn more about all the campus-wide and local resources to support food needs.