block scrapers - do not click
Financial Aid Department

Financial Aid Services Center

Food and Shelter Assistance

groceries in a bag

We strive to reduce financial barriers to learning by providing students with financial assistance to help pay for their educational expenses. Here are community resources beyond the traditional financial aid programs that offer help to students in need of food and shelter care.

On Campus Resources

Birnam Wood Food Pantry

Located in the Birnam Wood Community Building and open to any WWU student with a valid WWU ID to pick up a kit. Open Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 4-9pm.

Swipe Out Hunger
Swipe Out Hunger allows students in need to “swipe” into the dining commons free of charge with their Western ID card. Students interested in receiving meals must submit an interest form through the Feeding Western Office (HSH 30). Students can complete the form online or in person at the Feeding Western Office. Anyone with a meal plan can donate their unused swipes to help students with food insecurity.

Western Hub of Living Essentials (WHOLE) Food Pantry

WWU Associated Students provides a food pantry on campus for university community members facing food insecurity. The pantry includes non-perishable food, personal care products such as shampoo and toothpaste, as well as gently used clothing.

The WHOLE pantry in:

  • Viking Union 511
    • Monday through Thursday 7am-10pm
    • Friday 7am-11pm
    • Saturday 9am-11pm and Sunday 10am-11pm

For more information, contact Karen Deysher, Coordinator for Student Advocacy and Identity Resource Centers, or at ( 360)650-2022.

WWU Emergency Food Funding

WWU students who need emergency food funding for a few days can seek assistance by contacting the Financial Aid Services Center.

Off Campus Resources

Basic Food in Washington
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), called Basic Food in Washington, helps low income people make ends meet by providing monthly benefits to buy food.

Bellingham Food Bank
The Bellingham Food Bank serves as a hub, connecting neighbors and emergency food providers with a steady supply of nutritious groceries, fresh food and a smile. See the Food and Meal Resources in Whatcom County guide.

Food Access

Food access does not want those who must live on a budget to think that a balanced diet is out of reach. There are various organizations in the community that provide support to help teach you how to cook and eat delicious and nutritious meals.

Fresh Bucks

A program that matches basic food benefits (SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps) dollar-for-dollar up to $10 in fresh produce per shopper per day. To get Fresh Bucks, you must already have basic food benefits like SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps. Fresh Bucks is available only at the Bellingham Farmers Markets and Twin Sisters Markets in East Whatcom County.

Washington Basic Food Program

Basic Food (the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program in WA), helps low income people make ends meet by providing monthly benefits to buy food. Review the eligibility, advantages, benefit amounts and how to apply online.

Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program

Various local Whatcom County providers can be contacted to schedule an appointment and assist you in receiving WIC services. For more information about WIC is and eligibility, the Washington State Department of Health can be referenced.

Shelter & Other Resources

2-1-1: Washington Information Network
2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number for people to call for health and human service information and referrals and other assistance to meet their needs. Washington 211 maintains a statewide database of community resources. Call 2-1-1 from your phone or visit the website to find local food, shelter and other resources.

The Lighthouse Mission
The Lighthouse Mission provides a drop in center, a men’s shelter and extended stay shelter, as well as the Agape Home for women and children escaping victimization or homelessness. Contact them to find out what services they may be able to provide.

Northwest Youth Services
Northwest Youth Services is a non-profit organization serving young people ages 13-24 experiencing homelessness in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. They support youth in identifying goals and building the skills necessary to reach your own sense of stability. Northwest Youth Services offers housing, street outreach, help finding a job or enrolling in school, connection to mental health services, support for LGBTQ youth, restorative justice for juvenile offenders, and referrals to other services in the community.

Opportunity Council
The Opportunity Council is a private, non-profit Community Action Agency serving homeless and low-income families and individuals. The Opportunity Council offers a broad scope of services that range from addressing immediate and crisis-oriented needs (food, emergency shelter, eviction-prevention) to longer-term programs that promote self-sufficiency in our community (early childhood education, home weatherization).

Whatcom County Crisis Services
Information for immediate services for shelter, food, clothing and mental health care.

Whatcom Homeless Service Center
The Whatcom Homeless Service Center coordinates many of the housing resources in Whatcom County and have created a centralized and accessible way to link consumers to appropriate services.

WWU Counseling Health and Wellness Services
Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services is dedicated to assisting you in sustaining good emotional and physical health, and to providing care, guidance, and resources when needed. Our services are available to assist you with whatever psychological obstacles or physical ailments arise while you are at Western.

WWU Emergency Loan Program

Emergency Loans are available to WWU students who need funding on a short term basis. Emergency loans are available for 30, 60, and even 90 days. This loan program can be helpful to students in between paychecks, are experiencing a delay in financial aid disbursement, or have some other short term cash flow difficulty. Visit our web page for eligibility and application information.