Swipe It Forward

The 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 10 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.

Donate a Meal


  • 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 15 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.

Request a Meal

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

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 Instagram

View the Community Fridge Guidelines

SMFA Food Pantries

The SMFA Community Food Pantry is located inside of the Dean’s Suite (230 Fenway, B203). Feel free to take what you need. The Pantry consists of food items such as rice, pasta, canned vegetables, fruit cups and granola bars. This is a community wide initiative, and we invite students to donate what they can. Non-expired, non-perishables will be accepted.

The Mission Hill Food Pantry is open to students experiencing food insecurity located on the second-floor student lounge of 160 Saint Alphonsus Street. The pantry is available 24/7 to SMFA graduate students and during building hours for all other students. Please consider dropping off some donations if you have excess food you’d like to share!

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. 

Contact the I-Center

Meal Support During Academic Breaks

The dining centers close during fall 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 when the dining centers are closed. For details, check out the fall break website and the spring break website.

During winter break, the residence halls and dining halls close and students are generally not permitted to be on campus. 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.

During summer sessions, the dining halls are open and summer meal plans are available. Students living on or near campus during the summer should generally plan to use their summer income and information about shopping and cooking on a budget for meals. In addition, Swipe it Forward, Jumbo’s Community Fridge and Food Pantry, and other supports are available over the summer, as they are during the fall and spring semesters. Check out more info about summer 2024 meal support.  Students are invited to contact Dean of Students Office for coaching and support as needed. 

Eligibility and Details

Fall 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 two criteria will be contacted by the Dean of Students Office team via email about two 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

Grocery Store Shuttle

To make it easier to source food independently, Tufts offers free, dedicated shuttle service to a nearby grocery store once per week.  Additional area grocery stores are accessible daily via the MBTA.

Grocery Store Shuttle Information