Black Bear Exchange
Your on-campus food pantry
and clothing exchange!!!
Having trouble paying your bills and having enough money to buy food? We are here to help. Food insecurity is a reality for many college students and staff. We are here to invest in you and help you finish your education!
The Black Bear Exchange envisions a community where all those who work at and attend the University of Maine have equitable access to resources; and where creative, situation-specific collaborations are actively nurtured to meet needs. This community will also value the reuse of goods and seek to eliminate the waste of resources. These actions will minimize dependence on supra-local, socially unaccountable systems and better provide for the well-being of all community members.
MAINECARD is required. You cannot visit without your card. NOW ACCEPTING MOBILE MAINECARDS AND TAP CARDS!
Please check our Facebook page and this page for any updated information.
The food pantry is open to students and their immediate families as well as staff and faculty. Each person may visit once per week and choose 15 items. There is no income requirement and no application process. Just present a valid MaineCard. Our focus is supporting those who are not able to obtain assistance from other community sources. For information about other community sources, please visit 211maine.org.
Our food is obtained through the state food bank (Good Shepherd), donations, and food drives. We try to have a wide variety of non-perishable foods, fresh produce and even some pre-cooked frozen items. The selection will vary from day-to-day and week-to-week.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension operates the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Their website and Facebook page provide great information about utilizing local foods, food preservation, food safety, nutrition education and even recipes. Check them out!
If you receive a Pell Grant, there is a good chance you would qualify for SNAP benefits. Click here for more information, and we can help you with the application process!
The Clothing Swap is open to anyone and everyone!!!! All clothing, shoes and accessories are free! No cost!! We accept donations of gently used items whenever we are open (no children’s clothing please). Come browse our shelves and look for a new treasure! Our goal with this sustainable project is to reduce stigma surrounding food pantries and thrift stores while providing support to the community.
Want to run a food drive or a clothing drive? Contact us! Remember to join us on Facebook; search for Black Bear Exchange at UMaine!
Like thrifting?? Visit these local stores and organizations for a great treasure hunt!
|Orono Thrift Store (a program of
Orono Health Association)
10 Birch Street, Orono
(behind the Orono Public Library)
Hours: Wednesday 9:00a-4:00p &
Saturdays 9:00a-2:00pAccessible via the Orono Express
Bus on Wednesdays.
Polish Consignment and Resale
Hours – both locations: Monday
Holy Family Thrift Store
Hours: Wednesday 9:00a-1:00p,
|Salvation Army Family Store
585 Broadway, Bangor
(beside TJ Maxx)
Hours: Monday thru
Hours: Monday thru
Peacock Consignment Boutique
Hours: Tuesday thru Friday
|For more great shops, visit thethriftshopper.com.|
How you can help the BBE
The BBE is not a University funded program. The money used to secure food items comes from donations and fundraising. It costs more than $10,000 per year to keep our shelves full even with the items that are donated. Any help you can provide would be amazing!
Hold a food drive
Basic food drives are always a good choice! We can supply you with a list of our most needed items.
Hold a fundraiser
Pick a fundraiser that fits your group, and its’ talents, and then choose to donate the money or buy food to donate. If you are a musical group hold a small show, if you are an athletic group hold a workout class, just be creative and use what you know!
Help host an educational event
Part of the BBE is that we want to help people learn how to be healthy no matter what their situation is. If you or your group have an idea for an educational event let us know! This includes events such as a film screenings, health or nutrition classes, or other ideas you may have.
Help with advertising
Are you good at advertising? Do you write for a newspaper or other publication? We are always looking for help to get our name out there and find new volunteers. Let us know how you can help.
Something else that fits you group
Do you have an idea for how to help that is not listed here? Let us know! Everyone has something different to offer and we are willing to work with you so it can benefit both parties. Volunteering can be a great way team builder for a group!
You can donate two ways.
Both will put food on our shelves!
- Donate directly to the Black Bear Exchange via the UMaine Foundation. Select the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and note Black Bear Exchange.
- Donate to the Good Shepherd Food Bank and designate the funds for the UMaine Black Bear Exchange.
Where are we?
55 York Village (see map below)
University of Maine
Signs are out along Grove Street Extension and in the Village. Black parking is available in the Global Sciences Lot. Red and Blue parking is available in the Aroostook Lot. Look for our sign on the side of our building, and we will have a sign in front of our door when we are open to help you find us.