The Thrifty Beaver Co-op (TBC) is a student-run food pantry and clothing exchange aimed at supporting the campus community and combating food insecurity. Open to all UMF students, faculty, and staff, the TBC stocks a variety of items including food, second-hand clothing, dish ware, personal care products, books and more! The no-cost system ensures everyone on campus has access to whatever they might need, regardless of financial status.
Where is the TBC Located?
The Thrifty Beaver is located on campus in Room 004 (lower level) of the Fusion Building, which is located at the corner of South and High Streets.
When is the TBC open?
The Thrifty Beaver Co-op is open Monday through Thursday from 4pm to 7pm.
Are items at the TBC truly free?
You are welcome to pick up items from the TBC free of charge. We only ask that you moderate how much you take, knowing that others on campus may also be in need.
Want to volunteer at the TBC?
TBC is staffed by a combination of student employees and volunteers. If you are interested in applying for a work study or work initiative position, or in volunteering, please contact Mark Pires, Campus Sustainability Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org), or attend an SCC weekly meeting held on Mondays from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in the Education Center Room 113.
Want to donate to the TBC?
Donations of non-perishable food items may be left in the bins located at the TBC in the basement of the Fusion Center, the Mantor Library front desk, or the Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center in the Kalikow Education Center. For donations of other items please contact Mark Pires, Campus Sustainability Coordinator (email@example.com).
The Student-Led Origins of the TBC
The Thrifty Beaver was established in 2016 by UMF students who wanted to address the need for assistance in the campus community, particularly student food insecurity. Catherine Dufault (‘16) collaborated with Lauren Crosby (‘16) to expand a thrift store she had created in the “attic” of Merrill Hall to include a food pantry. “Maine is the most food insecure state in the northeast,” Catherine explained in a recent interview, “so knowing that so many students were coming from homes that were food insecure… I just wanted to make sure that those issues were being addressed. I had roommates that were just eating cans of vegetables for meals, and I feel like no student should have to do that just because they don’t have the means to eat healthily.”
Working together with other committed members of the SCC, they were able to install the TBC in its current, expanded location on the ground floor of the Fusion Center. For Catherine, “founding the TBC was like an outlet for me to help try to meet the need for food [security] in Franklin County. I know it by no means solved food insecurity, but it was a good start.”
Thrifty Under COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges across the globe, and the Thrifty Beaver has been no exception. After shutting down with the rest of the UMaine System in March 2020, UMF students and staff worked tirelessly to reopen the TBC that fall by creating a safe space for the community to get the resources they needed while abiding by the CDC restrictions set in place due to the pandemic. When the University shifted to remote learning after Thanksgiving in 2020, the TBC staff and other members of the UMF community realized that students who were obliged to remain on campus lacked access to dining services. The TB staff worked with UMF faculty, staff, and members of the Farmington community to raise over $1,200 in Food City and Hannaford gift cards that were distributed to students in need through the Thrifty Beaver. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, through the herculean efforts of TBC staff they were able to continue to ensure access to critical resources and help address this new source of food insecurity.