Table of Contents
What is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity could be ongoing for many years or it could be a short-term challenge brought on by any number of circumstances.
WE cARE Pantry
Location: Church Hall, 306
Mon: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm; 2 pm to 4 pm
Tue: 10:30 am to 1:30 pm; 3:30 pm to 6 pm
Wed: 11 am to 5 pm
Thu: 10:30 am to 4 pm
Fri: 11 am to 4 pm
*Open on dates when classes are in session.
** Please check our social media sites for the break schedule.
The WE cARE Pantry provides nutritious and culturally relevant supplemental food, common household necessities, and personal hygiene supplies to allow students to focus their energy on studies, and their money on college expenses. We are here to help provide the resources you need to thrive and succeed, so that you can focus on your goals and make the most of your time at Penn State Harrisburg!
Products are ordered based on availability, as well as our financial circumstances; this is why you may not find the same items available from visit to visit. We try to provide as much variety as possible and do our best to accommodate requests and dietary/cultural needs, while also sticking to our budget.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our employees or volunteers – we are happy to assist! Questions may also be directed to Ren Deysher Fernández.
How to Access the WE cARE Pantry
Eligibility: Any PSU student currently enrolled in classes is welcome to access the WE cARE Pantry. During each visit, students must present their valid Penn State ID card. On their first visit, students are required to read and complete an initial WE cARE Pantry Intake Form that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Students’ intake form and visit information are kept completely confidential.
Submit an online order for scheduled pick-up
- Log on to Engage@Harrisburg
- Under the drop-down menu, select “Forms”
- Locate the “WE cARE Pantry Order Form” and select “Start” to fill out/submit the form
- Pick up your order at Church Hall, room 306 on the date/time indicated on your form. Please be sure to bring your PSU ID.
- During operational hours, students may check-in at the desk and show the WE cARE Pantry employee or volunteer their PSU ID. After their ID has been verified, students will be given a bag to shop with. Students who are new to the Pantry will be offered a tour.
Each student is limited to 1 food bag and 1 household necessities/personal hygiene bag to shop with per visit. Please respect item limits to ensure that all students who have a need can access resources. If you are uncertain or confused about the limit, please ask an employee or volunteer for clarity and support.
When a student is finished shopping, the checkout process includes an employee or volunteer weighing their bag(s). There is no weight limit, however, we need to weigh your bag to report the amount of food that we distribute in total to Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
Emergency Food Packs
Emergency Food Packs are available at select campus locations to support students in immediate need of food assistance. Each Pack consists of 2 to 3 already prepared or easy-to-prepare meals, along with an assortment of snacks. Emergency Food Packs are free and are available for halal, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and omnivore diets; just check inside the bag for the label that details which diet the Pack supports. No information is needed to receive a Pack.
Athletic Training and Sports Medicine (CUB 115)
Capital Village (Community Center)
Counseling and Psychological Services (SEC 205)
Development and Alumni Relations (Olmsted W110)
Equity Compliance Specialist / Sexual Misconduct Resource Person's Office (Olmsted E125)
Lambert Undergraduate Advising Center (SEC 204)
Madlyn L. Hanes Library (Library’s circulation desk)
Nittany Village (Signal Hall vestibule, accessible by the door on the side closest to campus and by the benches/tables/bike racks. To enter through the door: Swipe, then push, then pull the door open.)
International Students Office (Olmsted E131)
Student Care and Advocacy (SEC 212)
Student Disability Resources (SEC 205)
Student Engagement (SEC 112)
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I am food insecure?
You may be wondering if you “qualify” for use of campus food insecurity resources, or if your situation “is as bad as someone else” you may know. Due to how college student hunger is often portrayed or thought of as a rite of passage, or "that's just how college is," you may even be wondering if the kind of hunger you may be experiencing even matters that much. We want you to hear that it does matter, that your experience matters, and that no student should ever have to go hungry to stay in college.
Where is the WE cARE Pantry located?
Location: Church Hall, room 306
- Go to University Drive / Meade Ave: Coming from the main part of campus, turn onto University Drive, which is across from the west wing of the Olmstead Building. This road is also called Meade Avenue.
- Turn onto Alumni Drive: If you are coming from the main part of campus, this will be a left turn. Coming from the Sheetz area, this will be a right turn.
- Go to Church Hall: Church Hall is the first building in the parking lot. The entrance is along the left side, close to the greenhouses.
- Go to the third floor: When you enter Church Hall, there is an elevator on the left. Through the doors and around the corner is a stairwell.
- Go left and down the hallway: When you get off the elevator or the stairs on the third floor, go to the hallway and turn left.
- Go to room 306: The pantry is located in 306, which is toward the end of the hallway on the left
What types of things can I get at the WE cARE Pantry?
The WE cARE Pantry stocks grocery staples, personal hygiene products, and household necessities such as dish soap, utensils, etc.
Can I pick-up my friend’s pick-up order if they cannot?
We understand that sometimes people cannot make it to our usual food pantry distribution hours due to illness, safety concerns and/or other reasons. If somebody else is coming to the WE cARE Pantry to pick-up an order placed online for you, please email [email protected] from your PSU email address informing us.
How does the Pantry use student and program data?
Seeking assistance through the WE cARE Pantry can take some courage. It's hard to ask for help and it can certainly be hard to trust another person or an organization with personal information. Please know that we will hold your private information private, but there are some ways that we'll use your data that we want to be fully transparent about.
Of course, we use student data to make decisions. This information is largely used to determine priorities and guide how we run the WE cARE Pantry and in what ways we need to grow. On an anonymous, bigger scale, we use data to drive the college affordability conversation at Penn State Harrisburg. Our office is uniquely positioned to be able to demonstrate how the rising costs of tuition, textbooks, and the cost of living is pricing people out of a degree. We know that using some of our data (anonymously) can resonate with donors and help create more resources. Using data from the WE cARE Pantry helps all students have better access to an affordable education.
What is the history of the WE cARE Pantry?
In August 2018, the WE cARE Pantry opened thanks to the work of a dedicated committee of staff, faculty, and students who sought to mitigate the issues of hunger at Penn State Harrisburg by providing a supplemental food source to all students experiencing food insecurity.
Additional Local Pantries
Please contact the organizations directly to confirm availability
Chambers Hill United Methodist Church
Food Pantry Open Tuesday through Friday 9:30-1:30
6300 Chambers Hill Rd Harrisburg, PA 17111
St. Catherine Laboure Church, Shrine of the Miraculous Medal
Food Pantry by appointment
4000 Derry St. Harrisburg, PA 17111 717-564-1321
Fishing Creek Salem United Methodist Church
Food Pantry First Thursday of the month 3:30-6:00pm
402 Valley Rd. Goldsboro, PA 17319 717-938-1928
LGBTQ Community Center of Central PA
1306 N. 3rd St. Harrisburg, PA 17102 717-409-5781
Choice Community Christian Church
Food Pantry Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if supplies last) at 4:00pm
120 South 27th St. Harrisburg, PA 17102 717-592-1031
A Nourished Community
Community Resources (contact them directly to verify hours of operation)
Community Food Banks and Federal Assistance
Students can access food pantries provided by their local communities and by most Penn State campuses.
Make a Difference: How to support the WE cARE Pantry
- Give a financial gift
- We are often asked why we prefer to receive monetary donations. It’s simple! Through our partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, we can purchase packaged food items at $0.19/lb or fresh produce at $0.10/lb. So, you could take $1.00 to the store and purchase a can of soup to donate to our pantry OR you could donate your $1.00 to the pantry; we can turn that same $1.00 into five – ten lbs. of food from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank! Your hard-earned money will go further through donation, and it’s tax deductible as a charitable gift! Give Now
- Give items
- Donate unused guest meal swipes
- Penn State partners with a national nonprofit to fight food insecurity and student hunger. Consider donating a meal during the "Swipe Out Hunger" campaign which occurs every Fall and Spring semester.
- Host a food drive
- If your department, student club, etc. is interested in sponsoring a food drive to help support the WE cARE Pantry, please contact us in advance by emailing [email protected] for details. We accept unexpired, non-perishable food items, toiletries, and household necessities. We can send you a template with the logo, and you just input your dates, as well as coordinate receiving donations.
- Event admission
- Hosting an event? Encourage all attendees to bring two cans of food for entry or a discount for entry. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to coordinate this!