food pantry being stocked

Lehigh University leadership identified the pantry as a key aspect of the “A Lehigh for Everyone” initiative.

Lehigh Opens Two New Food Pantries for Students in Need

The food pantries are located in Johnson Hall on the Asa Packer Campus and Iacocca Hall on the Mountaintop Campus.

Photography by

Christa Neu

Food insecurity happens when people can’t access the food they need to live their fullest lives. It is a nationwide issue that also impacts members of our student body.

“There are many causes of food insecurity,” says Donald Outing, vice president for equity and community. “But one thing is clear: we can do something about it for members of our Lehigh community.”

In the summer of 2022, Lehigh’s Health & Wellness Center staff wanted to bring a wellness component to the center. After assisting students experiencing food insecurity for some time, they sought to provide a space that students could visit, stocked with resources such as health-related items and snacks. They established what would become the food pantry that year and have since been working to expand it.

To expand the pantry, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity applied for funding through Swipe Out Hunger. They were awarded $7,000 as foundational funding for the food pantry. University leadership identified the pantry as a key aspect of the “A Lehigh for Everyone” initiative and helped to further fund the project, with the goal of fostering a more equitable Lehigh.

Through partnerships with Swipe Out Hunger, a national nonprofit committed to ending college student hunger and Sodexo, Lehigh is able to centralize its support of a university-wide food bank pilot program by tapping existing resources identified to support work in the wellness/diversity, equity and inclusion support realm. While specifically put in place for the Lehigh community and primarily for students in need, no Lehigh individual who shows up will be turned away.

Located on the third floor lobby of Johnson Hall and on Mountaintop in the College of Education graduate student lounge on the first floor of Iacocca Hall, these university pantries and student resource centers will provide Lehigh community members with a variety of healthy and convenient foods, including snack options, small grab-and-go meals and/or health-related products. Gluten-free, nut-free and vegan options are available.

“Students will be able to find items at both pantries such as fresh fruit, salad kits & vegetables, tuna, mac and cheese, soups, oatmeal, a variety of granola bars, crackers, trail mix and cereal,” says Yen DeBellis, director of Health Advancement & Prevention Strategies (HAPS) and assistant director of the Health & Wellness Center. “In addition, at Johnson Hall, students will also have access to health items such as hygiene, sexual health and menstrual products, COVID tests, pregnancy tests, first aid kits, Tylenol, Ibuprofen and so much more.” All items are free for undergraduate and graduate students.

Pantry hours are as follows: Johnson Hall Food Pantry: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Iacocca Hall Food Pantry: Open 24 hours, seven days a week. Students can use their ID cards to gain access to the pantries themselves and the items they offer.

Story by Amy Bilello

Photography by

Christa Neu

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