The new Husky Harvest Food Pantry and Clothing Closet has begun serving the needs of the UConn Law community and is already preparing for expansion.
Since its grand opening on Sept. 11, the food and clothing bank has drawn more than 50 visits from members of the UConn Law community seeking assistance to meet food and clothing needs. Students and alumni have stepped up with donations, and a Thanksgiving food drive began November 6.
“We want all members of the campus community — students and employees — to know that help is available to them,” said Julian Torres, assistant director of student affairs. “There are no income limits or requirements to demonstrate need, and it’s all confidential.”
The food pantry was established in cooperation with Connecticut Foodshare and aligns with similar services at the main campus in Storrs and the regional campuses. Torres and Kristina Santasiere, administrative coordinator for the dean’s suite, organized the pantry and closet, which is operated with the help of student employees.
The long-term goal, Torres said, is not only to reduce food insecurity but to destigmatize conversations about it while providing wrap-around support to UConn Law students and employees.
At the food pantry’s grand opening, Dean Eboni S. Nelson noted that one in 10 Connecticut residents struggles with food insecurity. “No member of our community should have to decide between a meal for themselves or their families and covering an important bill, getting books, or paying for housing and other expenses,” she said.
The pantry offers rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, soup, pasta, cereal, canned vegetables, and small snacks. The stock may expand to include fresh produce, meat and dairy options once the community’s needs become clear. Hygiene products may also be added eventually.
The clothing closet provides business casual and formal clothing, some of it donated by alumni and students, including Yanhire Sierra-Lavalle ’25, Magdalena Narozniak ’18, Cynthia Barlow ’92 and Jordan Abbott ’10, the law school’s senior director of alumni relations.
The pantry and closet, located in the basement of Starr Hall, are open Tuesdays from 12 to 2 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Anyone who has questions or needs to arrange an alternate time can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The food drive, planned for November 6 through November 20, will collect ingredients for Thanksgiving meals in a bin in the law library foyer. The items sought include, but are not limited to, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and cornbread mix.
The pantry is also looking for more volunteers. Interested students, staff and faculty are urged to email email@example.com.