Resources for students who struggle with food insecurity


Stocked with food, the S.H.O.P.’s pantry offers food for students in need.

Maximillian Lisowski

Iowa State University joins with the Ames community to offer many ways for students to remain well-fed while keeping their anonymity. 

Anonymity is essential for those who rely on food pantries to keep coming back week after week and staying well-fed is essential for every student. That’s exactly why the student organization S.H.O.P., located at 1306 Beyer Hall, was created.

“It is essential for students to eat well,” said Erin Bergquist, a clinical professor in the food sciences and human nutrition department and graduate student majoring in agricultural education and studies. “It impacts our brain function and paves the way for a healthy mind and body.”  

Partnering with the Food Bank of Iowa, this food pantry is run by about 150 students who aim to increase hunger awareness and food security. Students can take home fresh fruits, vegetables, canned goods and most non-perishable items without showing any form of ID.  

Proudly serving about 200 students every month, Belinda Heckman, the president of S.H.O.P., and a senior studying global resources systems said, “It’s so cool to be on a team with so many different people that want to make an impact.” 

All items for the S.H.O.P. are donated directly or obtained through food drives. 

For students seeking daily meals, the food pantry, Food at First, offers free food every day of the week. 

Located at 611 Clarke Ave., the organization relies on volunteers and students to provide free meals every Sunday and weekdays from 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. On Saturday, free meals are offered between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Free market times are also available three times a week where people can get free groceries that have been donated by the community. 

Many Iowa State University organizations donate, including SPARKS Café, Iowa State Catering, East Side Market, Iowa State Bakery and The Hub.

 “Oftentimes it’s the moms and their kids that really get to me. It’s heartwarming to help those who really need it,” Patty Yoder, the executive director of Food at First, said in sharing why she loves working for the community. “I get to help people every minute of every day. That’s what we do at Food at First.” 

Those who need food can visit S.H.O.P. on:

  • Tuesday Noon to 8 p.m. 

  • Wednesday 2 to 7 p.m. 

  • Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free market times are on:

  • Monday 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

  • Thursday 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.