Pop-Up Pantry - Feeding the Flames since 2014

The mission of the Pop-Up Pantry is to combat food insecurity among students at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). UIC students come from a plethora of backgrounds and our aim is to assist those who may be facing personal and/or financial hardship.  It is especially important that during these college years all students are healthy and able to focus by always having enough to eat. Research shows that proper nutrition is critical for cognitive function and memory. Food is a basic human right.

Pop-Up Food Pantry with Partnership with GCFD

During the summer of 2014, Carol Petersen, the Associate Director of the UIC Wellness Center and Brandon Gaskew the 2014-2015 Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Vice President, developed the Pop-Up Pantry to target the growing food insecurity on campus.  The initiative was successful from the beginning and aided a large number of students. Since the inception, the Wellness Center with the support of UIC faculty, staff, students, USG, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and many other supporters have served over 3,252 bags of food to UIC students who are experiencing food insecurity.   As of May 2017, the Wellness Center is proud to announce our partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD).  This partnership will allow us access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy to better serve the nutritional needs of our students.


During the school year, the Pop-Up Pantry is open every Wednesday & Thursday from 1pm-4pm.

This summer (2019) the Pop-Up Pantry is in a new temporary location: Student Center East Tower room 611. The Pantry will operate every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month from 11am-4:00 pm ( Open Pantry Dates: June 7th; June 21st; July 5th; July 19th; August 2nd; August 16th)

The pantry is permanently housed in the Wellness Center.

You must be a registered UIC student to access the pantry. Please bring your icard to the pantry as you must swipe in to shop.

** We believe in sustainability, please bring your own shopping bag.

** We are proud to offer fresh items such as milk and eggs, but be mindful of your commute time.  Shop and plan accordingly so items do not spoil.  Especially during the hot summer months. 

** Individuals are served first come, first served.  Please be mindful that due to limited supplies and quantities of some items, they may be gone before you arrive to shop.  Please be patient as we expand our selection and quantities to accommodate everyone.

Four important Facts to Know about the UIC Pop-Up Pantry:

  1. Started by the Wellness Center to serve students in 2014.
  2. 100% of the food comes from donations from other students, staff, and faculty.
  3. The pantry exists to serve students who are homeless, couch surfing, or missing meals due to severe financial difficulties.
  4. Each pantry user is allowed to shop no more than twice for the whole month.
  5. Please remember to bring your own reusable bag.

If you are experiencing Very Low Food Security we encourage you to use the UIC Food Pantry. It was created for you!

Steps to Becoming a Pantry User:

  1. Register during a time when the pantry is not operating by stopping at the Wellness Center front desk.
  2. You will fill out a short and easy to answer form. It takes 4-7 minutes to answer.
  3. Show your UIC I-card at time of registration.

Rules for Shopping the Pantry

  1. Each pantry user is allowed to shop no more than twice for the whole month. We are open every Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00pm- 4:00pm.
  2. Sign in to use the pantry (electronic signature) & you must have your iCARD to swipe in.
  3. Please be quiet in the pantry and while waiting to get checked in. The space is the CSRC Quiet area so please be mindful of other students trying to study.
  4. Receive your shopping number which indicates your place in line so that you will know when it’s your turn to shop
  5. When your number is called you will receive a shopping basket and you are welcome to enter the pantry
  6. Familiarize yourself with and adhere to shopping limits
  7. Help us to maintain a pleasant shopping experience by being courteous to other shopping students and staff
  8. When you are finished shopping exit the space and present your basket in order for it to be “checked out”
  9. Bring a reusable bag at each use of the pantry since we don’t always carry bags.
  10. Since everything is run on donations. It is important to know once we run out of any product we no longer have any more to provide.

** Please be mindful when shopping at the pantry as many students are also in need of food. We try to make it fair by splitting all are products for both days of the week. **


Without donations, the Pop-Up Pantry would not exist. Even with the support of fresh produce and dairy from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, donated canned and dry goods are still critical.  If you want to support the     Pop-Up Pantry, we currently accept both food and monetary donations. No amount is too small. If you wish to make a monetary donation, please click below.

Make A Donation

Food donations

Food donations

Food donations are accepted throughout the year and can be dropped off at a designated bin throughout numerous buildings on campus or directly to the Wellness Center. We accept food donations as well as donations of toiletries and period products.

  • Items must be in cans, cartons or bags
  • Must be non-perishable (requires no refrigeration or freezing) ** We, unfortunately, cannot accept fresh produce or similar items due to food safety regulations.
  • Unopened and in the original container with the original product label
  • Free of dents, rips, stains, moisture and other forms of damage
  • Must NOT be expired

Most needed items:

  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Rice
  • Cereal/Oatmeal
  • Breakfast/Snack Bars
  • Canned fish
  • Canned meat
  • Canned beans
  • Canned soup
  • Canned vegetables
  • On-the-go/instant meals
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce

The Pop-Up Pantry does NOT accept:

  • Candy/treats
  • Perishable items
  • Expired items

Want to Help?

Ways You Can Support the Pantry! 

Volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository and ask if your “credit” can be directed to UIC’s Wellness Center Pop-Up Pantry! (You can volunteer yourself or go with a group!) Link: https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/volunteer/

If you are a part of an organization and are interested in hosting a food drive for the pantry, please send an email to wellnesscenter@uic.edu, and we will provide you with bins for your food drive.

Pantry Elves: To be efficient, the pantry utilizes UIC staff to support the pantry in its food collection efforts. Pantry elves, composed of UIC faculty and staff, provide a vital service and are located throughout east and west campus and have bins located in their area or building.  If you are interested in becoming a pantry elf, please email,  wellnesscenter@uic.edu