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UMass Lowell Food Pantry to close its doors on Monday, Mar 23 after 5pm due to COVID-19 pandemic

(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell Food Pantry’s Twitter) Begeal says they can always use snack foods. 

Brigid Archibald
Connector Editor

Updated on Mar 24 at 10:15 a.m.

The UMass Lowell Navigators Food pantry will be closing its doors at the end of business hours on Monday, March 23 at 5:00 p.m.

“Unfortunately, some things have changed and the pantry must close at 5 p.m. tomorrow (Monday) and remain closed for an undermined amount of time,” wrote Phillip Begeal,  the associate director of student affairs for student support. “It is our hope to reopen the pantry as soon as the situation with the virus is more under control.”

Begeal gave some alternative food banks that students can try but said, “I am not sure if they will all be open because it is an ever-changing situation. We encourage the students to check by calling first.”

The Connector has reached out to all of the listed food pantries about their current hours. The first pantry, Catholic Charities, has confirmed that they are open for regular hours. All others have not responded.

Catholic Charities Lowell Food Pantry
70 Lawrence Street Lowell, MA – 01852
Pantry hours: Monday through Thursday 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Central Food Ministry
370 W. Sixth St. Lowell, MA – 01850
Pantry hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m, as well as Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Christ Jubilee Food Pantry
101 Smith St. Lowell, MA – 01851
Hours: Friday 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Open Pantry of Greater Lowell
200 Central St. Lowell, MA – 01852
Pantry hours: Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., as well as Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Hope Dove Open Pantry
117 Perry Street Lowell, MA – 01852
Pantry Hours: Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Posted on Mar 21 at 9:44 p.m. 

Despite campus closures, UMass Lowell’s Navigator Food Pantry will remain open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to serve students, staff and faculty during the switch to online courses and remote services.

“The food pantry is still running as student need does not change with the transition to remote learning,” said Phillip Begeal, the associate director of student affairs for student support.

Started as a grassroots network of faculty keeping snacks in their desks and cars for students, the food pantry has been servicing the UMass Lowell community since 2011. In UCrossing building A, the pantry is located next to the Solution Center.

Begeal said that they are still accepting donations at the food pantry or at the Office of Student Affairs in UCrossing suite 200. Anyone that cannot donate in person can donate through a new Amazon Wishlist set up by the Office of Student Affairs.

“This will allow for those who want to donate to order on line [Sic] and have the items shipped directly to Student Affairs where it will be inventoried and brought to the Food Pantry,” wrote Ann Ciaraldi, the associate dean of student affairs violence prevention, in an announcement released by the university on Tuesday, March 17.

Begeal says the pantry really needs snacks of all kinds such as crackers, peanut butter, oatmeal, breakfast bars, shelf-stable milk and toiletries like shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste and laundry detergent. Plastic bags for users to carry the food and supplies home are also needed.

“A lot of people think the food pantry is strictly food, but it’s not. In addition to the food pantry itself, we have access to a lot of other resources,” said Begeal.

Begeal went on to say that they do not turn anything away because they never know what resources someone might need. However, the pantry cannot accept anything that needs to be kept cold, and they try to take only unopened items. The pantry additionally has other necessities including clothing, sheets and school supplies on hand just in case students need them.

Anyone wishing to use the food pantry should be prepared to show their UMass Lowell ID and to provide some non-personal demographic information about themselves for a report that the pantry gives to outside organizations that help to supply food.

“We don’t ask questions in terms of financial need or evidence of that,” said Begeal. “Staff will ask a few short questions, and that’s just because they have to, again, for that report.”

Begeal said that the information is nothing personal; the report only asks for demographic information such as gender and ethnicity.


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