With Thanksgiving and Winter breaks right around the corner, The University of New Mexico Lobo Food Pantry is seeking physical donations to help keep its shelves full after record-high use this semester.

With an average of 120 daily visitors this semester, keeping food on the shelves of the pantry has been challenging. One especially busy day brought 180 students into the pantry. Amanda Martinez, the Basic Needs Specialist, who manages the pantry, encourages those interested in donating this holiday season to bring physical items to the pantry or order them from the pantry’s Amazon Wish List, so they are delivered directly. The pantry’s most needed items are food and personal hygiene products. Books are also accepted.

“At this time, students are both mentally and physically preparing for the stressors of traveling home for the holidays and taking their finals. Our mission is to provide students with relief and comfort when it comes to accessing free food on main campus,” Martinez said. “Unfortunately, many students on campus are food insecure and do not have the privilege of traveling home for the holidays and may spend the holidays on campus.”

Other students may struggle to buy food because they are making vehicle repairs or paying to travel home.

“I am hopeful that this communication out to the UNM community will help us stock up our shelves to provide students with meals during the holiday seasons,” Martinez said. “Especially if we can receive meals that can be easily prepared in a dorm or small kitchen.”

University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) has partnered with the Lobo Food Pantry to coordinate a food donation drive through Friday, Dec. 15. Drop boxes to donate non-perishable food items, as well as personal hygiene products, can be dropped off at any of the drop boxes listed here

In addition, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration is featuring, once again, its "Adopt a Lobo, Pack a Luminaria" donation campaign. To contribute, stop by Scholes Hall, room 111 to select a luminaria. Donations will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 18. 

Physical donations can also be dropped off at the pantry on Fridays by appointment when the facility is closed to students. Donation appointments can be made by emailing loborespect@unm.edu with the subject line “Food Pantry.” Other arrangements, like campus pickup or loading dock drop-off, can be arranged if circumstances necessitate but drop-off at the pantry during operating hours is preferred. 

The Lobo Food Pantry also recently began accepting books for their Little Library and are particularly interested in books that can benefit student well-being, like cookbooks.

What the pantry accepts (find a full list here):

  • Personal hygiene products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, tampons, pads, etc.)
  • Food (bulk items, canned food, pasta, perishable food either fresh or frozen)
  • Beverages (non-alcoholic)
  • Books 
  • Grocery Store gift cards

Items NOT accepted:

  • Expired food
  • Unlabeled food (label has been removed)
  • Repackaged food
  • Homemade food
  • Used clothing

Ways to donate if you can’t bring items to campus:

While physical donations and wish list items are most helpful at this point in the semester, monetary donations and staff and faculty payroll deductions help keep the pantry afloat throughout the year and are also greatly appreciated, Martinez said. Faculty and staff interested in donating via payroll deduction may choose an ongoing deduction, a one-time deduction, or a deduction taken each pay period until a specific gift amount is reached.

More information about the Lobo Food Pantry can be found on the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center website. The Lobo Food Pantry is located in the SUB, Room 1093 (across from the computer labs) and is open to any currently enrolled UNM student.