Franklin Countys First News

New food pantry opens on UMF campus

Members of the Sustainable Campus Coalition help with opening day at the Thrifty Beaver and Food Pantry.

Members of the Sustainable Campus Coalition on the University of Maine at Farmington campus help with opening day at the Thrifty Beaver and Food Pantry.

FARMINGTON - A new resource for students at the University of Maine at Farmington has opened on campus this week, offering a swap system of used clothes and a no-questions-asked food pantry.

The Thrifty Beaver, initiated by the Sustainable Campus Coalition, opened last year with used clothes in exchange for a donation to the wardrobe. The concept continued this year with the added the benefit of a food pantry for any students, or staff, who may not be able to afford the price of a meal plan.

Catherine Dufault, a senior at UMF, became interested in hunger issues several years ago. After attending the Maine Hunger Dialogue, Dufault started a program with dining services to donate leftover food items to the Care and Share food closet located on the Fairbanks Road.

“Maine is the hungriest state in New England,” Dufault said. “There isn’t a lot of research about hunger on college campuses but it’s really hard for students to be in school full time, work part time, pay off debt and afford to feed themselves.”

The food pantry offers mostly non-perishable goods, as well as some fruits and vegetables donated by the campus dining services. Dufault said the support from UMF has been huge. Not only was the school administrative staff in favor of the project, they have also received support from United Way, Alpha Phi Omega and Sodexo.

“We live in this state where the ‘pull your boot straps up’ motto is widely accepted. It’s hard for people to ask for help. We wanted to create a space where people would feel comfortable, not intimidated, about asking for help,” Dufault said.

Clothing donations can be dropped off at The Thrifty Beaver, located in the basement of the Computer Center/ Tech Commons room 004. Non-perishable food items can be donated at The Thrifty Beaver, the Mantor Library, the SCC office in the Student Center and the Spenciner Curriculum Center.

The Thrifty Beaver and Food Pantry is open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., four days a week.

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8 Responses »

  1. A great move to fulfill needs of those who need help. Even in large cities, large universities, many students are living in their cars, eating 1 meal a day in order to stay in school. Many of these students are among the first in their families to attend college and come from low-income backgrounds where there is little ability to chip in for meal plans and housing. In spite of having work hours, there isn't enough to go around when it comes to book costs, lab fees, etc.

  2. Another incredible addition to our wonderful community! Thank you UMF for continuing to contribute! Thank you Sustainable Campus Coalition for being agents of positive change!

  3. This is Bazar !

  4. A wonderful student-driven project. Creating a co-op to help students and staff is timely and admirable--a great credit to UMF. Congratulations!

  5. What four days are you open? Do you accept footwear?

  6. This is wonderful!

  7. The Thrifty Beaver Co-Op accepts donations Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM.

  8. This sounds like a wonderful idea !!