ORONO –A campuswide nonperishable food drive to benefit the University of Maine Black Bear Exchange food pantry will be held from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17, sponsored by UMaine Auxiliary Services and the Green Campus Initiative. 

Donation boxes will be located in the University Bookstore, Bear Necessities Fan Shop, Bear’s Den, Hilltop Market, and in the Hilltop, Wells and York dining halls. In addition, collection boxes will be in residence halls in conjunction with Clean Sweep, the residence hall donation campaign led by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and the Green Campus Initiative.

Black Bear Exchange has requested nonperishable food donations of boxed cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter or nut butter, jelly or jam, tuna fish, and macaroni and cheese.

All food donations benefit the Black Bear Exchange, which provides support to students and other members of the UMaine community. Proceeds from Clean Sweep benefit the food pantry and other Bodwell Center volunteer initiatives.

Donate three items in the University Bookstore or Bear Necessities Fan Shop collection boxes to receive a 30 percent discount coupon for the purchase of one regular-priced item through May 2022. Bookstore hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Bear Necessities Fan Shop is open noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, and during home ice hockey and football games.

In 2020, the Black Bear Exchange distributed 74,000 pounds of food to 3,300 people, according to Lisa Morin, coordinator of the Black Bear Exchange. The 2020 food drive brought in 478 pounds of food for the food pantry.

“Last year’s food drive was a success with great community involvement,” said Richard Young, executive director of Auxiliary Services, which oversees all units participating in the Food Drive. “It’s part of our culture to support students, and this event makes a difference in their lives.”

For more information about the food drive, contact Deb Bell, debra.bell@maine.edu

Information about the Black Bear Exchange food pantry, including instructions for requesting support, is available online.