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The background image is A table is stacked with nonperishable food items.

No student should go hungry

Lion’s Pantry was created by a group of faculty members and staff to address food insecurity in Penn State College of Medicine students who are learning on the campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The mission of the pantry is to make sure these students do not go hungry in order to meet other financial needs.

Lion’s Pantry provides essential groceries to any student on the Hershey campus experiencing food insecurity. Any student can receive nutrition support and resources to encourage a well-balanced life.

Learn more about the pantry

  • Every student with a valid Penn State Health-issued student ID may access Lion’s Pantry services. This includes MD students, graduate students and physician assistant students from the College of Medicine as well as College of Nursing students working on campus.

    Note: Students must bring their Penn State Health-issued student ID to verify student status.

    Hours

    Distributions are held 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month. Specific upcoming distributions will be listed here when scheduled.

    A large modular building with stairs going into it is seen.

    Lion’s Pantry is at 555 Campus Dr., Hershey.

    Location

    555 Campus Dr.
    Hershey, PA 17033

    (Location 29 on the campus map)

  • What is food insecurity?

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are two different things. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.

    Ashley Visco is pictured carrying a large cardboard box during a eptember 2020 food distribution.

    Ashley Visco, director of Community Health for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, brings out food to Penn State College of Medicine students at Lion’s Pantry, 555 Campus Dr., Hershey, to open during a September 2020 food distribution.

    Are there income requirements to receive food?

    Any student who self-identifies as having food insecurity may get food from Lion’s Pantry. There is no income cutoff or proof of income required.

    What personal information is collected?

    The pantry will ask each student for their full first name and last initial, phone number, last four digits of their Penn State ID and their student type. This information allows the pantry to improve the quality of services provided. If any food ever needs to be recalled, the pantry will contact students by phone. The pantry may ask additional, optional questions that allow it to improve the quality of services provided, but these answers are not required.

    What are the pantry’s privacy policies?

    Everyone who uses the pantry’s services or volunteers at the pantry is expected to abide by the posted confidentiality agreement. Copies are available, if requested.

    What about being seen at the pantry?

    Students may see other students who use the pantry when going to pick up food. Everyone is expected to keep all encounters completely confidential.

    What do students need to bring when using the pantry?

    Students should bring their Penn State Health-issued student ID and two to three reusable shopping bags capable of holding 10 to 15 pounds each.

    Are there limits on what can be done with the food?

    The pantry asks that only the student or other individuals in their household use the food that is taken. Students are asked not to take food items they don’t like. Students who know of others who might need help obtaining food, but who are not part of the University system, can find information for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank at centralpafoodbank.org.

    How frequently can someone visit the pantry?

    The pantry is open twice per month. Students may visit both times, if needed.

    What type of food is available?

    Currently, most of the food items are nonperishables. The pantry will try to have at least one type of fresh fruit or vegetable each week.

    How can students find out what other assistance might be available?

    Students can inquire about resources available while at the pantry. Students may qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. See details about SNAP on the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank website.

    Are foods available to meet particular dietary needs (allergies, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.)?

    The pantry makes every effort to offer a variety of food options. Students are welcome to take the items that are best for them and their family.

    What can be done if someone is unable to make it to the pantry on a day that it is open?

    Students may arrange to have another student pick up food on their behalf, but will need to email the pantry in advance at LionsPantryPSH@pennstatehealth.psu.edu so accommodations can be made.

    Does the pantry provide anything other than food?

    Currently, the pantry only has food available. For students who need assistance with other items, there are groups working in the community who may be able to help. Students can call 211 to connect with such resources.

  • Deanna Dubots is pictured lifting a box down from a stack of boxes during a September 2020 food distribution.

    Deanna Dubots, assistant director with the Office of Medical Education at Penn State College of Medicine, grabs a box of produce to bring out to medical students at Lion’s Pantry, 555 Campus Dr., Hershey, during a September 2020 distribution.

Every student with a valid Penn State Health-issued student ID may access Lion’s Pantry services. This includes MD students, graduate students and physician assistant students from the College of Medicine as well as College of Nursing students working on campus.

Note: Students must bring their Penn State Health-issued student ID to verify student status.

Hours

Distributions are held 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month. Specific upcoming distributions will be listed here when scheduled.

A large modular building with stairs going into it is seen.

Lion’s Pantry is at 555 Campus Dr., Hershey.

Location

555 Campus Dr.
Hershey, PA 17033

(Location 29 on the campus map)

What is food insecurity?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are two different things. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.

Ashley Visco is pictured carrying a large cardboard box during a eptember 2020 food distribution.

Ashley Visco, director of Community Health for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, brings out food to Penn State College of Medicine students at Lion’s Pantry, 555 Campus Dr., Hershey, to open during a September 2020 food distribution.

Are there income requirements to receive food?

Any student who self-identifies as having food insecurity may get food from Lion’s Pantry. There is no income cutoff or proof of income required.

What personal information is collected?

The pantry will ask each student for their full first name and last initial, phone number, last four digits of their Penn State ID and their student type. This information allows the pantry to improve the quality of services provided. If any food ever needs to be recalled, the pantry will contact students by phone. The pantry may ask additional, optional questions that allow it to improve the quality of services provided, but these answers are not required.

What are the pantry’s privacy policies?

Everyone who uses the pantry’s services or volunteers at the pantry is expected to abide by the posted confidentiality agreement. Copies are available, if requested.

What about being seen at the pantry?

Students may see other students who use the pantry when going to pick up food. Everyone is expected to keep all encounters completely confidential.

What do students need to bring when using the pantry?

Students should bring their Penn State Health-issued student ID and two to three reusable shopping bags capable of holding 10 to 15 pounds each.

Are there limits on what can be done with the food?

The pantry asks that only the student or other individuals in their household use the food that is taken. Students are asked not to take food items they don’t like. Students who know of others who might need help obtaining food, but who are not part of the University system, can find information for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank at centralpafoodbank.org.

How frequently can someone visit the pantry?

The pantry is open twice per month. Students may visit both times, if needed.

What type of food is available?

Currently, most of the food items are nonperishables. The pantry will try to have at least one type of fresh fruit or vegetable each week.

How can students find out what other assistance might be available?

Students can inquire about resources available while at the pantry. Students may qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. See details about SNAP on the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank website.

Are foods available to meet particular dietary needs (allergies, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.)?

The pantry makes every effort to offer a variety of food options. Students are welcome to take the items that are best for them and their family.

What can be done if someone is unable to make it to the pantry on a day that it is open?

Students may arrange to have another student pick up food on their behalf, but will need to email the pantry in advance at LionsPantryPSH@pennstatehealth.psu.edu so accommodations can be made.

Does the pantry provide anything other than food?

Currently, the pantry only has food available. For students who need assistance with other items, there are groups working in the community who may be able to help. Students can call 211 to connect with such resources.

Deanna Dubots is pictured lifting a box down from a stack of boxes during a September 2020 food distribution.

Deanna Dubots, assistant director with the Office of Medical Education at Penn State College of Medicine, grabs a box of produce to bring out to medical students at Lion’s Pantry, 555 Campus Dr., Hershey, during a September 2020 distribution.

How Lion's Pantry helps

The background image is Ashley Visco, director of Community Health for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, prepares for a Lion's Pantry distribution at 555 Campus Drive in Hershey in September 2020 by putting a sign in front of a large modular building.

“It’s a lot of stress being in school, so it really helps having a food pantry on campus. I love that the food offered is healthy and has even encouraged me to try new recipes. Having the food assistance allows me to utilize loans for books, clothing and other essentials.”

– MD student
“Before utilizing the emergency food boxes for students, I was spending money I didn’t have on necessities like food. Once I heard about the student food pantry, I initially didn’t believe that it was for someone like me. After receiving my first box, it immediately alleviated some of my financial pressures by providing me with healthy, shelf-stable food that I would have bought myself. The pantry provides me with a sense of security and support.”

– MPH student