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‘No Questions Asked’: Pete’s Pantry Network provides free food and basic needs items to OSU students

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Canned Fruits

Student Government Association sponsors Pete's Pantry Network with locations in the Student Union, Bennett Hall, Nancy Randolph Davis West and Edmon Low Library. 

The Pete’s Pantry Network is a student initiative that has the main goal of reducing food insecurity across Oklahoma State’s campus and provides free, non-perishable food items, canned food, clothing items and basic needs items. 

The pantry began as a pop-up pantry in 2019, inside the Student Government Association vice president’s office. The pantry grew into the conference room at the Student Union during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a helpful resource for students as they transitioned to a socially distanced reality. 

SGA President Riley Pritzlaff is a senior at OSU majoring in political sciences and he said he believes his main job is to help students. 

“We have students helping students and that’s the whole point of our organization,” Pritzlaff said. “We’re here to provide help to students whose needs are either partially being met or aren’t being met.” 

SGA assures Pete’s Pantry is a safe space for students to go to and does not require any student ID or someone guarding the shelves. Madilyn Dunn, SGA’s vice-president, said students should be allowed to have their personal lives kept private. 

“It is a no-questions-asked kind of model," she said. "Anyone is welcome to come, explore our pantries and take what they need. There’s more than just food that’s accessible for students. We have some menstrual products throughout the pantries. During the winter months, we will have gloves, coats and whatever our students need.” 

Dunn connects Pete’s Pantry to the Cowboy Code, where students are encouraged to do what’s right even when it’s hard. 

“We don’t know what a person might be going through,” Dunn said. “Taking at least one worry out of a student’s plate is one of our main goals.”

Students' points of view on this initiative are positive and a reason to be proud. 

Jenna Merrifield, a sophomore at OSU majoring in psychology, said she did not know about the Pete’s Pantry resource. 

“I believe more students need to hear about it, whether that’s through emails or signs around campus,” Merrifield said. “ I can’t believe everyone can rely on this project. It’s an amazing initiative, I’ll make sure to let my friends know.”

Taylor Johnson, a sophomore at OSU double majoring in mathematics and secondary education, said she sees Pete’s Pantry as a way to bring the Cowboy family together in times of need.

“It’s such a cool resource that we have to serve students and so many people are unaware of what it is,” Johnson said. “Some students might feel insecure about this resource because they might believe other students need it more than they do, but Pete’s Pantry is for everyone.” 

OSU is home to a big community, and its organizations are constantly working on making the college experience as comfortable as possible for students. 

“Part of what attracted me to Stillwater is that it feels like home,” Johnson said. “And if you’re home, you have a roof over your head and food on your plate. Pete’s Pantry is a way that SGA is helping students and bringing the Cowboy family together.”

Pete’s Pantry relies on donations from students, community members and partnerships. 

“On Lights of Stillwater, we got over 600 canned food items and over 600 menstrual products,”  Pritzlaff said. “We have a partnership with the Oklahoma Pork Council that has been donating hundreds of pounds of pork to us.” 

Students interested in donating can take food and hygiene products to Room 211 in the Student Union. SGA is open to students’ feedback. 

“If a student visits our pantry and they think we’re lacking in a certain area and they think a specific item should be included, we want to hear that feedback, so we can better accommodate dietary needs,” Pritzlaff said. 

Pete’s Pantry’s locations can be found at 211P Student Union on the 2nd Floor, 042 Student Union in the basement, near the front desk at Bennett Hall–24/7, Nancy Randolph Davis West and Edmon Low Library's front entrance.