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Big Orange Pantry

The Big Orange Pantry provides emergency food assistance for students, faculty, and staff attending or employed by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Food insecurity and meeting the basic needs of college students have emerged as a critical concern at public higher education campuses across the nation. Studies show that food-secure students typically perform better academically when compared to their food-insecure counterparts. 

The Big Orange Pantry opened in the fall of 2020 to help meet the increase in short-term meal assistance program demand and basic needs assistance requests.

*For any special requests or accessibility needs please contact us at*

How it works

Big Orange Pantry allows people seeking food assistance to choose for themselves what products they receive. 

  1. Stop by the Big Orange Pantry to pick from our changing variety of perishable/non-perishable items, snacks, and hygiene products.  You can stop by any time during our open hours to view what is available and take what you need! This does not require any forms to fill out prior. 
  2. If you do not have the time to pick out items you can select to pick up non-perishable items (canned foods, etc.) order by completing our online order form.  You must be logged into your UTK email to access the form. Note: No confirmation or appointment is needed – after placing an order, stop by the pantry 24 hours after submission, during any of our open hours, and your order will be ready for you. 


Interested in Donating to Big Orange Pantry or Smokey’s Closet?

We have set up a new system for donating to either of our basic needs initiatives. Our donations are closed at the moment but will be opening soon! Please fill out this form in order for us to process your items.

We are no longer accepting drop offs without connecting with our team first! 

Thank you so much for your generosity, we wouldnt be here without you.



Big Orange Pantry and Smokey’s Closet
1502 Cumberland Avenue
Student Union
Suite 376C

Current Hours for Summer:

Our location has changed! We are now located in Student Union 376C – in the hallway across from the Dean of Students office. 

Starting May 31st

Mondays: 12:00 PM- 1:30 PM
Tuesdays: 12:00 PM- 1:30 PM
Wednesdays: 12:00 PM- 1:30 PM
Thursdays: 11:00 AM- 3 PM
Fridays: 11:00 AM- 3 PM

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Frequently asked questions 

A growing concern in public higher education relates to meeting students’ basic needs, including food and housing insecurities. A recent study found that one in three students in the southeastern and Appalachian regions are food insecure, which is higher than the national average. Affirming this data, the Office of the Dean of Students has observed an increase in students accessing the Big Orange Meal Share program, a short-term meal assistance program that provides students with guest meal cards. Case managers within the office also report an increase in basic needs requests. This context is important, as food-secure students typically perform better academically when compared to their food-insecure counterparts. Therefore, this growing problem has also become a student success issue. While the university has begun to address basic needs through the Big Orange Meal Share Program, the Hunger and Homelessness Summit, the End Hunger FEED Change Initiative, Swipe Out Hunger, and the Student Basic Needs Coalition, we must address this matter through more sustainable, coordinated solutions. Responding to the growing needs related to food insecurity, the Division of Student Life and Office of the Dean of Students proposed the creation of Big Orange Pantry, an on-campus food pantry.


The mission of the Big Orange Pantry is to provide emergency food assistance for students, faculty, and staff attending or employed by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


All current UT students, faculty, and staff can use the pantry.

You can visit the pantry during our weekly hours or by private appointment. If you need a private appointment, please email

None! You just stop by and fill out the checkout form each time you use the pantry.

The Big Orange Pantry uses the client choice model, allowing patrons to choose the items they’d like to receive. You can either A) Stop by during open hours to pick out what you would like or B) If short on time, use the Big Orange Pantry Staples Pick Up Form for non-perishable items only.  BOP orders are filled within 24-48 hours of submission. Please refer to the next open hours and your order will be ready for you. No appointment is needed!

There is no limit for use, however, we encourage shoppers to only pick up what they need per visit.

We will list weekly volunteer opportunities via the Jones Center for Leadership and Service Sign Up to Serve site.

For classroom or student organizations, contact to set up a time. Please note, because of needs, we recommend contacting us several weeks prior to your desired date.

Please email to organize a food drive. If you would like to make a financial donation, please use the direct link.

If you are concerned about yourself or another Volunteer, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students (865) 974-3179 or