Montana Tech Food Pantry offers more grab-and-go options to meet student needs


Four years after the Montana Tech Food Pantry opened in 2020, organizers say they have shifted their focus from creating the infrastructure needed to sustain the resource to providing the nutrition that best fits the needs of the Oredigger community.

Quinn Cox, a software engineering sophomore from Soldotna, Alaska, is an ASMT senator and chair of the Food Pantry.

“The Food Pantry is probably my favorite thing that ASMT does,” Cox said.

Last year Cox learned how to run the food pantry from Baylie Phillips (B.S. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, ’23), who was instrumental in getting it started during the pandemic, when an on-campus ASMT survey determined that 40% of students struggled with food insecurity.

Early needs for the program were shelves, a freezer, and volunteers. Now that the pantry has those things, plus a dedicated student worker, it can better serve students.

“We’ve received amazing donations this year, and that’s been super helpful. We are now focused on utilizing our funds,” Cox said. “In the past, the majority of what the pantry received was canned food. We are now offering more grab-and-go options rather than canned goods.”

Chicken nuggets, individual burritos, and peanut butter and jelly are staples students look for.

“We’ve seen more students using it. The demographic we serve is mostly students who live on campus,” Cox said. “That means they are limited to an electric kettle or microwave to cook things. Canned soups and ramen are items that go the fastest. Granola bars and trail mix are popular as well.”

Broth and pastas are also available for students who prefer to cook.

The pantry is staying away from fruit and vegetables because they spoil too quickly. The Food Pantry, located in the lower floor of the Student Union Building, is open when the SUB is open. There is no data collected from the students who stop in to stock up or grab a snack, but Cox says ASMT has spent about $2,000 this year restocking the shelves, indicating increased usage from last year.

In addition to food, the pantry stocks hygiene products like toothbrushes and soap that students may need.

Any time an item gets close to expiration, the volunteers take it to the free pantry at the intersection of Park and Jackson Streets, where it can go to immediate use in the Butte community.

“We want to throw away as little food as possible,” Cox said. “The campus community should look for more of the Food Pantry’s fundraisers and activities in the next year as we become more active.”

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can email for more information.

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