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What is Benny’s Pantry?

Benny’s Pantry is an on-campus food pantry exclusively serving Idaho State University students, staff and faculty, with the mission to alleviate food insecurity in the ISU community.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity is the lack of access to enough safe and nutritious food. It may occur once or it may be a chronic issue. It may mean that there is no food available and no resources to obtain food. Or, the food available is not adequate to meet caloric or nutrient needs. In America, 1 in 6 people experience food insecurity.

Aren’t college students supposed to be poor
and starving?

Worthwhile endeavors often require sacrifice. The pursuit of higher education (and the lifelong benefits it comes with) should not lead to poor or inadequate nutrition. The majority of well-paying jobs require some higher education, whether it is a technical certification or a Bachelor’s degree. Many college students scrape by on limited means while spending thousands of dollars on tuition, textbooks, housing and living expenses. Higher education costs have increased dramatically over the last 30 years, well beyond the rate of inflation. Many students work part-time or even full-time jobs on top of going to school and take out student loans to finance their education. About two-thirds of students qualify for the Pell Grant - financial aid for low-income students.

It is well documented that good nutrition is essential for optimal learning, growth, and development. The brains of traditional-aged college students are still developing. Some nontraditional and transfer students may have children at home to feed as well as their own education to support. Missing meals to save money happens not infrequently, though it may affect learning and long-term health.

Am I eligible?

Most students, staff, and faculty at ISU are eligible. This includes College of Technology START students and senior citizens who receive discounted credits. Dual-enrolled high school students and spouses of students or employees who are not themselves students are not eligible. Benny's Pantry does not collect financial information, distribution is based on household size.

I know there are people worse off than me.  Should I still use the pantry?

Food insecurity and undernutrition occur in degrees of severity, from having absolutely no food to lacking a healthful variety of food. It may occur once or for a long period of time. Regardless, these are stressful situations to be in. Whether you need to access Benny’s Pantry once or regularly, it is available. Some students who utilize the pantry find it worthwhile to give back by volunteering.

Is there a discreet way to get assistance?

Benny’s Pantry is located in a discreet area in the Pond Student Union Building which can be accessed through a side entrance. All staff and volunteers sign a confidentiality waiver prior to working. If you need more discreet assistance, please contact us at

How can I help?

We appreciate your willingness to help! We rely on volunteers and donations to continue to make an impact at Idaho State. Current students can volunteer after completing a brief training and signing a confidentiality waiver. We accept non-perishable food and personal care items. Download this complete list of acceptable donation items. Monetary donations go a long way to stock our shelves and tax-deductible gifts can be made through the ISU Foundation.

What can I give to the pantry?

We accept non-perishable food and personal care items. Please see our full list of acceptable donation items.

What are current pantry needs?

  • Breakfast items (cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice)
  • Healthy snacks (granola bars, nuts, dried fruit)
  • Whole grains (rice, pasta, etc.)
  • Baking and cooking items (flour, sugar, oil, spices, condiments)
  • Diapers and wipes

I don’t qualify for the pantry. Can you point me in the direction of other community resources?

Please check out this list of community resources throughout Southeast Idaho.