Meal Assistance

About the Meal Assistance Program

The Meal Assistance Program is a new initiative from the Campus Basic Needs Committee. The program is designed to provide an additional short-term food assistance  for students facing food insecurity caused by an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances, via a set of 15 meal passes that can be used in the dining halls. The Meal Assistance Committee is composed of student support staff from The Office of PittServes, CARS Team, Panther Central, and OAFA.

Students should apply using this form, which takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. If you experience any issues with the new form, please reach out to mealassistance@pitt.edu so we can resolve the issue promptly.

 

Who can apply?

This program is available for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are currently living in the Greater Pittsburgh Region and enrolled in courses at the Oakland Campus. You will confirm your student status by logging into the application as you would to MyPitt.

 

Is there an income requirement?

No, there is no specific income limit, and you will not be asked to prove your income when applying.

 

What counts as an emergency or unforeseen circumstance?

For the purpose of this program, any event resulting in either an unexpected expense or loss of income or other financial support qualifies as an unforeseen circumstance.

What can I expect when I submit an application? When will I hear back?

When you submit an application, you will receive an automated email confirming that your submission has been received. After that, you can expect to hear back from the Meal Assistance Committee within one week, if not sooner, depending on your unique situation. If the University is closed, you can expect a response within one week of it reopening.

If your application is approved, 15 meal passes will be loaded directly onto your Panther Card, and you will receive a confirmation email when they are ready to use. Whether your request is approved or declined, you will have the (optional) opportunity to meet one-on-one via Zoom with a student support professional to answer any questions and receive information on additional campus and community resources based on your needs.

How often can I apply?

The goal of this program is to provide short-term assistance via 15 meal swipes, as well as connections to long-term food and other basic needs resources. That said, if your situation changes or you are still struggling to meet your food needs through other campus and community resources, you may apply again. Please note that if you submit more than one request in the same semester, you may be required to meet with a committee member before receiving additional meal passes.

Can I still apply if I am receiving other forms of food assistance or non-food aid?

Yes– If you currently utilize another form of food assistance, such as SNAP or a food pantry, but are still unable to meet your dietary needs, you may apply. Other forms of aid, such as the Pell Grant, reduced rent programs, or utility assistance, do not impact your eligibility for the Meal Assistance Program.

Will this program impact my eligibility for other financial aid?

No, receiving meal passes through this program does not impact your eligibility for any other forms of financial assistance, and you do not need to declare the scholarship if/when you apply for financial aid.

What if I already have a meal plan?

If you are on an “unlimited” meal plan, you are not eligible to receive additional meal passes. If you have a meal plan that allows you access to the dining halls once or twice a day but you are still struggling to meet your nutritional needs, you may still be eligible and the Meal Assistance Committee will follow-up with you to gather some additional information when you apply.

How and where can I use the meal swipes?

Meal passes can be used to swipe into either the Eatery in Litchfield Towers or The Perch at Sutherland, Pitt’s all-you-care-to-eat facilities. Students can swipe in at the automated kiosks, as they would with a regular meal plan.

Where do the swipes come from?

Since Spring 2019, students have been donating leftover meal swipes in the dining halls as part of a collaborative program between the University and our dining services providers, and in partnership with Swipe Out Hunger and Sharing Excess. The donated swipes have been “banked” and will be distributed through the Meal Assistance Program.

Have a question that’s not on here? Email mealassistance@pitt.edu for more information.