UNT Food Pantry provides a helping hand for the Mean Green community

UNT Food Pantry

Ramen noodles are quick, easy to make and inexpensive, which is why many people consider living on them a standard part of the college experience.

But Rosie Ridgway, director of UNT’s Food Pantry, says it shouldn’t be a staple of anyone’s diet.

“I know ramen noodles is considered to be the ‘college thing,’ but if that’s all a student can afford they are experiencing a form of food insecurity,” she says.

For UNT students struggling financially and feeling insecure about where their next meal may come from, the Food Pantry can help.

The pantry had more than 1,400 visits during the last academic year and more than 5,500 since opening in 2015.

In addition to the University Union location, there are pantries at Discovery Park and New College at Frisco.

“We encourage all students who need it to come to the pantry,” Ridgway, who is also the coordinator for withdrawal intervention, says. “You are not alone, and you deserve nutritious food.”

She added that a private shopping experience is provided for students, as well as faculty and staff who need it.

With Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week this week, Ridgway says this is the perfect time to remind the UNT community about the pantry, what it provides and how faculty and staff can help.

Ridgway says that while the need for food is consistent all year, there are always students who can’t go home for breaks such as the upcoming Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

“We push for donations leading into Thanksgiving because we realize that students will remain on campus and be in need during that time,” she says.

Ridgway says they prefer to serve students meals high in protein, so donations of canned meat including tuna, chicken and ham are always appreciated. Donations of personal hygiene items are also in high demand.

“Next time you go to a hotel, consider bringing back the toiletries to donate,” Ridgway said.

Check the Pantry website for a complete list of needed items.

In addition to making donations, faculty and staff are welcome to donate their time stocking shelves, labeling cans or organizing storage space. 

The pantry also receives produce from the UNT Community Garden, which donated 33 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in just October.

Ridgway says the pantry is also in need of gift cards from local grocery stores and big-box stores such as Target.

“Student hunger is a serious issue and it is wonderful to see the UNT family work together to address it,” she says.