[Skip to Content]

Student Food Insecurity

The Division of Student Affairs is committed to helping students who are facing food insecurity.  In addition to the programs outlined below, we encourage students to reach out individually if they are facing significant financial hardships or emergency situations.

Student hunger background information

Student hunger is not just someone eating Ramen noodles for dinner once in a while, it is a serious problem across college campuses and it is even a problem for students right here at Upstate Medical University.  Hunger makes it difficult to study, sleep or engage in academic and social activities.  In early 2018, Student Affairs surveyed the Upstate student body and learned that up to 20 percent of our students experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months.

Campus Food Security Resources for students

Paley's Pantry at UpstatePaley’s Pantry is now open for in-person shopping/visits to the pantry!  Due to COVID, we are allowing in-person shopping by appointment only.  Shopping appointments are available on various Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-7 pm.  The pantry is located in room 130 of the Library.  If you are able, we ask that you please bring your own bags!  Any SUNY Upstate Medical University student who is experiencing food insecurity is encouraged to sign up for a shopping appointment:

Schedule a Shopping Appointment

If unable to attend any of  the in-person pantry dates, students may request support via our pantry pick-up option:

Unable to Shop In-Person - Pantry Pick-up Option

Distance learners who are living more than 30 miles from campus may also request limited resources and regional pantry referrals:

Distance Learner Request for Support

Grab and Go meals program: Student Affairs, Upstate Office of the President and Morrison Catering have partnered to offer a Grab and Go meal program for students. As an extension of the traditional Grab and Go program, we receive a small number of donated meals for students who identify as food insecure. Donated meals are vegetarian, packaged cold with re-heating directions and are typically available Tuesday - Friday. Current offerings are chicken pasta prima vera, mac and cheese with broccoli, and ziti with green beans.  Please email [email protected] for more information and to sign up for this program.

In addition to the Grab and Go meal program, we often receive food donations (including farm fresh veggies!) that we make available for students to pick up. Please email [email protected] for more information and to sign up for our email blasts about these opportunities.

Community Food Security Resources for students

Syracuse area Food Pantries


Binghamton area Food Pantries and soup kitchens


Information for students about SNAP Benefits (food stamps)

Under regular SNAP eligibility requirements, students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education are typically ineligible for SNAP benefits unless they meet certain specific exemptions. The Consolidated Appropriations Act,2021 temporarily expands SNAP eligibility to include students who either:

  • are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work-study during the regular academic year, as determined by the institution of higher education; or
  • have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year. This includes students who are eligible for a maximum Pell Grant.
  • More information about the temporary expansion is on this web page.

Recipe Resources


website where you type in the ingredients that you have and find creative recipes you can make with them.


website with healthy, low cost recipes

Ways to Help

  1. Donate to the Upstate Fights Student Hunger Fund at the Upstate Foundation. This money is used to pay for our food pantry partnership, our campus pantry program and our grocery store gift card program.
  2. Donate grocery store or gas gift cards for students in need via the Student Success/ Student Retention office. These cards are distributed to students who demonstrate a need even after all financial aid and grant options have been explored/ awarded.
  3. Donate items for our pantry. We accept non-perishable foods, toiletries, laundry detergent, paper towels/ toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

Contact us

The food insecurity program is managed by Sharon Huard, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Campus life and Steven Contreras, Director of Student Retention. Our office is located in room 130 of the Library. If you have questions or comments, please email the Student Success Center at: [email protected] or call us at 315-464-8855.