The Patriot Pantry is a trusted resource for George Mason students facing food insecurity. What started as a grassroots Pop-Up Pantry in 2014, was subsequently developed into a larger pantry in SUB 1 staffed by undergraduate students and supervised by professional SSAC staff. The pantry’s name was changed to Patriot Pantry when it became an official service of the Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) in 2016. Enrolled students facing food insecurity and additional financial challenges are able to access free non-perishable food and hygiene items, up to once per week. With increased awareness about its services, and factors that may have affected students such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patriot Pantry has seen a significant increase in student users in the past two years. During the Fall 2021 semester, 306 individual users accessed the service and 619 orders were filled. In contrast, during the Fall 2020 semester, 134 users accessed the pantry and 140 orders were filled.
The Patriot Pantry utilizes a contactless order and pick-up system where students place orders using the online order form and orders are filled by the Patriot Pantry staff within the week. In order to remain stocked and provide needed service to Mason students, the Patriot Pantry relies on the generous donations from the George Mason and greater Fairfax and Northern Virginia communities. The Patriot Pantry accepts donations through the Amazon Wish List, in person (drop off at the Pantry) or monetarily through the Student Food and Housing Insecurity Fund. A list of needed items can be found on the SSAC Patriot Pantry donation page. Enrolled students, who would like to access pantry services, should fill out the Request Support form.