Access to healthy, nutritious food is a critical part of life. The Tufts community values taking action to solve important issues and being supportive of each other’s needs. When circumstances arise that interfere with access to food, our community comes together to support one another.
Read the Fall 2022 Food Coalition Activity Report
Resources at Tufts
Swipe It Forward!
Swipe It Forward program provides free dining hall meals to students who are having difficulty finding their next meal. Tufts Dining seeds the meal bank at the start of each semester, and students may donate meals from their meal plans throughout the semester.
- Any student with a meal plan can donate up to 6 meals per semester.
- Donations may take up to 14 business days to process. If your meal balance is low, donations may not be processed. Check your balance, visit the JumboCash website.
- All students in the School of Arts and Sciences, the SMFA at Tufts, and the School of Engineering are eligible to receive meals.
- Students can receive up to 10 free meals per semester.
- A student's account balance must have fewer than 5 meals at the time of request.
- You do not need a meal plan to receive a meal.
- Requests for swipes are processed within 2 business days of a completed submission.
Jumbos Community Fridge
Jumbos Community Fridge and pantry is available to students experiencing food insecurity. The fridge and pantry are located on the east side of Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center on Talbot Avenue and are accessible 24/7, year-round. Jumbos Community Fridge serves as a place for excess items to be shared, helping to reduce food waste on campus.
Follow Jumbos Community Fridge on InstagramView the Community Fridge guidelines
Meal Support during Academic Breaks
The dining centers close during Thanksgiving break and spring break, while the residence halls remain open. Students who rely on the dining centers for their daily food access, meet certain eligibility criteria, and are staying in the area during the break period will have supplemental funding provided to access food even though the dining centers are closed.
Break meal support is generally not provided during winter break because the residence halls close and students are generally not permitted to be on campus during winter break. Students who are required to be on campus during break for a university activity (e.g., students returning from break early from required training) often have meals provided by the department or program organizing the training. Students who receive exceptional housing on campus during winter break due will receive information about break food access from the Dean of Students Office.
Break meal support is not provided during summer sessions because the dining centers are open. Students living on or near campus during the summer should generally plan to use their summer income and our provided tips about shopping and cooking on a budget for meals. Students are also advised to contact Dean of Students Office for coaching and support as needed.
Eligibility and Details
Thanksgiving break and spring break meal support is open to any undergraduate or graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences, the SMFA at Tufts, or the School of Engineering who:
Has a meal plan during the semester the break occurs.
Is awarded financial aid by Tufts with an annual expected family contribution of $10,000 or less.
Is going to be on campus or in the local area during the break.
Students who meet the first 2 criteria will be contacted by the Dean of Students Office team via email about 2 weeks before the break begins. Students who meet those criteria and will be around campus during the break period complete a sign up and then receive a Meal Money credit. Meal money works like JumboCash or Rhino Bucks except that only food can be purchased (whereas JumboCash and Rhino Bucks also allow the purchase of certain other supplies, loads of laundry, etc.). Students use the Meal Money during the break at vendors that accept JumboCash or Rhino Bucks.
Contact Dean of Students Office
Food Emergency Fund for International Students
The International Center (I-Center) has a small pool of funding available to support the short-term food access for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences (including the SMFA) and the School of Engineering who are on an F- or J-student visa.
GSAS Student Meal Tickets
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) has a limited number of free meal tickets they can provide to graduate students who contact them. Meal tickets allow the student to get one free meal in the Tufts dining halls.
Free Food e-List
One way to provide access to food is to ensure that food we already have is not wasted. To that end, all members of the Tufts community are invited to use the Free Food e-List. When student organizations, large events, departments, offices, or others have events and there are meals remaining at the end of the event, they can send an email to freefoodattufts [at] elist.tufts.edu. Everyone who has signed up for the distribution list receives the invitation to come get the described food. An extra pizza at the end of a study session, bagels and coffee ordered for a staff meeting that was cancelled, or remaining meals following a large catered event are all of value to people in our community and can be offered with the Free Food e-List.
Please be aware that perishable food is not safe to eat if it has not been at proper temperatures for more than four hours. For most perishable foods, proper temperature is either below 40˚F (i.e., refrigerated) or above 140˚F (i.e., cooking). See information about food safety from the CDC. Given this, please send your email to the Free Food e-list as soon as possible to allow people to pick up and consume the food during the safe window of time.
Eligibility and Details
The Free Food e-list started as a joint initiative of the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative and the TCU Senate.
The Free Food e-list is available to all members of the Tufts community – students, faculty, and staff. Free food offered is typically on the Medford/Somerville or Fenway campuses.
Any amount of food and any type of food is acceptable to offer—from a few snacks to a large number of full-size meals.
Event organizers are invited to offer their remaining food to members of the community either during their event or immediately after. Anyone (subscribed to the e-list or not) can send a message to freefoodattufts [at] elist.tufts.edu to offer free food. In your message, please include:
- Description of food available (or a photo)
- Location where people should come to get the food
Please be respectful with this e-list and use it only for its intended purpose. If posting the list on a public website, please use techniques to prevent it from being scrapped. This helps prevent spam messages being sent to the list.
Sign up for the Free Food e-List
Tufts Dining serves healthy, fresh, nutritious food daily, so having a meal plan is a great way to ensure consistent access to food. All undergraduate students have the cost of a premium meal plan included in their “total cost of attendance” and thus resulting financial aid packages. Interested students are encouraged to talk with their financial aid counselor about how to use their financial aid to maximize access to food. There are a range of meal plans to choose from. We encourage you to select one that will meet your food needs and preferences.
Tufts Dining also offers meal plans tailored to graduate students, faculty, and staff.
View current meal plans Schedule a consultation with your financial aid counselor
Resources Outside Tufts
One of the advantages of being at Tufts is our placement in communities that care about and support their residents. Students are welcome to consider contributing to and receiving from the many sources of support in our host communities.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an initiative funded by the U.S. federal government which provides people who qualify with an EBT card which can be used at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and other locations to purchase food. In Massachusetts, SNAP is administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance.
In August 2022, Massachusetts expanded eligibility criteria and reduced paperwork requirements for college students to make it easier for students to get access to SNAP benefits. Students who find that financial aid package offered from Tufts and the other university resources described above, combined, do not meet their needs (for example, because they have dependents) are encouraged to review the SNAP eligibility criteria and apply for benefits if needed.
Student members of Environmental Health League, a Tufts student organization, created a presentation for other students who are interested in SNAP benefits describing the qualification criteria and application process. Check out their Spring 2022 presentation and contact them at email@example.com with questions.
Resources near the Medford/Somerville Campus
Micro Pantry at Sanctuary United Church of Christ, 458 High Street, Medford
Havurat Shalom Little Free Pantry, 113 College Ave., Somerville
Community fridge and pantry at St. Clements Church (behind church) across from 29 Clements Rd, Medford
Micro Pantry at the Curtis Tufts School (by the lot and the community garden in the back), 437 Main St., Medford
Micropantry at Hillside Community Church, 144 North St., Medford
Little free pantry, Somerville community path, south side of path.
Free farmstand, 50 Cherry St., Somerville
Project SOUP, a food pantry and soup kitchen, 165 Broadway, Somerville
Resources near Fenway Campus
Let us know about updated resources! Please email us if you find additional resources that should be listed on this page.
Food Solutions Coalition
The Food Solutions Coalition is a group of students, faculty, and staff who are actively working to improve food access for students. You are welcome to reach out to any member of the coalition with suggestions, questions, and ideas.
2022-2023 Coalition Membership
Andrew Shiotani, Director, International Center
Andy Tiedemann, Senior Communications Strategist
Angy Sosa, Associate Director of Residential Operations, Residential Life and Learning
Anulfo Baez, AG3, DEIJ Leadership
Arielle Galinsky, A24, Vice President of Tufts Community Union
Ayomide Oloyede, A25, First Generation College Student Community Senator, TCU
Bárbara Brizuela, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences, Professor of Education
Camille Minns, 2G, Environmental Policy & Planning
Emily Ding, Assistant Director of the Asian American Center
Erin Flood, Assistant Dean for Student Outreach and Support
Ian Wong, Director, Health Promotion and Prevention
Jay Ann Bernadette, M24, Health Promotion and Prevention Graduate Intern
Julian Agyeman, Professor, Interim Chair, and Fletcher Professor of Rhetoric and Debate, Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning
Kevin Kraft, Associate Dean of Students
Kim Ellwood, Program Coordinator, School of Engineering
Natasha Keces, 2G, Social Chair, Graduate Student Council
Nicolas Stewart, 2G, Environmental Policy & Planning
Nischeena Charles, Website Manager, Dean of Students Office
Patti Klos, Director, Tufts Dining
Pomai Yamaguchi, 2G, Student Life Chair, Graduate Student Council
Sarah Emmons, Assistant Director, Financial Aid
Stephen Green, Associate Director, SMFA
Vernon Miller, Director of the Indigenous Center