Carnegie Mellon University

Below are some commonly asked questions about the CMU Pantry. If you don't find what you're looking for, contact

All CMU students are eligible to use the Pantry to receive free food assistance for themselves and their dependents.

The CMU Pantry is here to support all CMU students and their dependents, including spouses, partners and children. In addition to providing food assistance, the Pantry can also help by providing access to some key family care items that you may have difficulty purchasing at the moment:

Personal Care Items
We offer our shoppers some key personal care items and cleaning supplies, including toothpaste, soap, and deodorant. Please note that the CMU Pantry takes household size into account when providing assistance, so we are able to provide assistance for dependents such as spouses, partners, and children.

Baby Care Items
The Pantry has a supply of some baby care items, including infant formula, jars of baby food, diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash ointment, and diaper rash cream. If you wish to receive baby care items, you should request them when you arrive at the Pantry, or directly email the Pantry, and one of our staff members will assist you. Please note that the brands, flavors, and sizes of the baby care items at the Pantry may vary based upon availability. 

Pantry Families Email List (D-List)
The Pantry is creating a email or d-list for the families we support so we can share news of new shipments of baby care items. If you are interested in signing up for these email updates, please email the Pantry and we will add you to the list.

Proactively Communicating Family Needs

In order to keep the CMU Pantry stocked with the most needed family care items, we would find it useful for families to let us know of their needs in advance. If you need a particular family care item, please email the Pantry to let us know the quantity and frequency of the items you will need so that we have the ability to order more of these items in a timely manner. For example: If you need formula, you can email us the quantity you need and how often you would need that quantity of formula.

In order to minimize opportunities for exposure to the virus and protect the health of our shoppers, volunteers and staff, the Pantry is requiring shoppers to reserve shopping times in advance.

In addition, we are following guidance from the CDC and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to protect our shoppers and Pantry staff. This guidance includes routinely cleaning Pantry spaces, wiping down surfaces with sanitizing wipes, requiring workers who are ill or who have been exposed to the virus to stay home, frequently washing hands, and limiting the number of people in the Pantry at any given time.

Shoppers should first complete the Pantry Registration survey. Once that has been completed, shoppers should complete the Shopping Reservation Form. Finally, shoppers can visit the Pantry at their reserved time to choose their items.

You may order food from the Pantry as frequently as once per week, based on individual need.
Yes. You will each need to register separately and fill out separate Shopping Reservations Forms. During the ordering process, you will be given the option to authorize another person to pick up food on your behalf.
The Pantry offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables based on seasonal availability. Additionally, there is a consistent stock of non-perishables including staple items such as pasta, rice, peanut butter, and canned goods such as beans, meats, fruits, vegetables and soups.

The “Best By” date is not an expiration date. Many foods are safe to consume for far longer than the "Best By" date, sometimes for an additional two years! If you’d like to reduce food waste in your own home and/or have selected items at the CMU Pantry that are past their "Best By" date, refer to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Shelf Life Guide to determine it's shelf life. If you have questions on how to use the Shelf Life guide, contact the CMU Pantry staff.

The CMU Pantry tries to maintain a supply of toiletry and household items, noting that available items vary week to week. If you are looking for something specific, feel free to reach out to us at

No. The CMU Pantry is need-blind and all CMU students are eligible to use the Pantry.

The CMU Pantry gets food items from a few sources:

  1. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank provides the foundation of our staple items.
  2. Food Drives supplement the diversity of items we stock.
  3. Additional purchases will be made at community grocery stores to supplement the types of food that are in demand by our diverse student body.
This resource is only offered to CMU students. We would be happy to share information on other community-based resources with you.

The CMU Pantry gladly accepts donations to keep the Pantry stocked with a healthy variety of food for our student shoppers. In addition to non-perishables, donations of hygiene products and cleaning supplies are also appreciated. Contact to see if those items are currently needed, or to coordinate the drop-off for your donation.