The Open Seat Food Pantry

A Food Pantry For Students, By Students

Founded in the spring of 2016, The Open Seat is a food pantry run by students, for students. We strive to provide healthy and accessible sources of food, personal-care goods, and household products to any enrolled student in need.

Each year, the number of students visiting The Open Seat Food Pantry has increased and often doubled as the number of students affected by food and resource insecurity grows. With this dramatic increase comes an equally dramatic rise in the pantry’s need for financial support.

Donate to The Campus Food Access Fund

An estimated
12% or 5,438
UW-Madison students are food and resource insecure.

The Open Seat offered food at a new location at Eagle Heights this fall semester, distributing 6,577 pounds of food in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank.

This past year, The Open Seat served over 1,500 students and their dependents.

Here for Students – No Matter What

During the pandemic, the Open Seat worked tirelessly to provide students with safe, efficient access to food by providing prepackaged food boxes at three unique locations. As campus moves to adapt to a new stage of the pandemic, the Open Seat is adapting its own priorities. 

We are committed to providing food options that will better meet the needs of students with dietary restrictions by making more gluten-free, vegan, and culturally specific foods available to students. We are also focusing on providing more personal care items such as shampoo, soap, menstrual products and cleaning products.  

Today, your donation will help ensure that students can do more than get their basic needs met – they will be able to have safe and consistent access to everything they need to be a full member of our campus community

Donate to The Campus Food Access Fund

Real Students, Real Stories

“The food boxes have helped me out so much and have taken some weight off of my shoulders this semester so that I don’t have to worry as much financially. Everyone working has been so sweet and constantly smiling. Thank you thank you thank you for all of the hard work that you are putting in and for helping us out so much!”

“I’ve been able to have a steady supply of food at a time when my income has been severely limited.”

“During the pandemic, I lost my student hourly job and as a result have been short on money. Thanks to the Open Seat, I saved so much money on grocery shopping. I greatly appreciate your help!”

“Thank you for this awesome service you’re providing to the UW community. It has been such a help, especially in these times where it feels like all aspects of life are unstable.”

“Without the Open Seat, I wouldn’t be able to afford enough food for my partner and I to have enough to eat.”

“It has helped to keep me less stressed during this pandemic. I worry about money a lot right now and the fact that I can count on food once a week is a blessing!”


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Learn more about The Open Seat food pantry.