Basic Needs Resources

We understand that lives have been greatly impacted due to circumstances unforeseen. Many are finding themselves in situations that are challenging. The Office of Student Financial Aid has compiled a list of resources that may help members of our community. This list focuses on the Madison area – if you need resources in a different area, the United Way 211 will give you information based on your zip code. You can also call 211 and will be given information for the nearest emergency food provider.

When life is tough, Remember you are tougher!

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Financial Resources

Through the Office of Student Financial Aid, students will receive responses in under 24 hours and can request assistance in four ways:

United Way of Dane County 

Will be announcing a public fund on March 20th.

Boys and Girls Club of Dane County 

Will be announcing how to apply on March 20th. They have funds that can go towards college students’ temporary housing and meals.

Madison General Defence Committee 

Has a form to fill out to help with resources.

Joining Forces for Families (JFF) 

All JFF offices are closed, but services can be used through email or phone. Joining Forces for Families can help those with children with finances.

Food Resources

The Open Seat (On Campus Food Pantry)

The Open Seat is currently closed during spring break, but are working hard to come up with a plan for providing boxes of food to be picked up at various locations on campus. Updates can be found on their website

The Keep Food Pantry (On Campus) 

The Keep is in the basement of Luther Memorial Church. They are closed for this week due to spring break, but plan to be open starting next week. They are available on Thursdays from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm. Bring along your student ID.

Catholic Multicultural Center Food Pantry 

Grab and go meals available daily – Monday – Friday 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. CMC food pantry is available in their parking lot on Tuesday 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and Thursday 10:30 am – 12:00 pm.

Grace Food Pantry – Grace Episcopal Church 

Located near the Capitol. Food will be given outside of the building. Distribution is scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1:00 pm – 3:00pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Bring a form of ID for all members in the family. They may decide to cancel this program, so please call ahead or check the website.

The River Food Pantry – COVID-19 Emergency Food Fund 

Prepared boxes of groceries will be available for pick up curbside. Curbside pick-up distribution hours will be Monday–Thursday from 10:00am–5:00pm and Friday from 2:00 pm – 7:00pm.

Fritz Food Pantry – Goodman Community Center 

Will be distributing pre-packaged bags of food in the Ironworks driveway circle in a drive-thru or walk-up style. Hours are Tuesday 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, Wednesday 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, and Thursday 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm.

Lussier Community Education Center 

LCE asks for individuals to stay in their vehicles or outside and they will deliver bags of food to you. There are no limits on pantry visits during this time. Distribution is available Wednesdays 7pm – 8pm and Saturdays 12pm – 1pm.

FoodShare / SNAP 

FoodShare is a government program that gives cash benefits on a card that can be used for groceries. Click here for a powerpoint to help you apply. If you have questions with this process, please reach out to

Mental Health


All services are free to UW-Madison students. University Health Services are having limited hours, but do offer services over the phone. Call 608-265-5600 (option 2) to make an appointment. The crisis line (608-265-5600, option 9) and SilverCloud and both available 24/7.

Financial Aid Student Success Services

If you are looking for someone to talk to during this time, Student Success Center has graduate students who will be able to talk via phone, video platforms, or email. There are success coaches ( and basic needs assistants ( available for this service. Disclaimer: Success coaches are not trained mental health professionals and basic needs assistants are working on their masters degrees in social work.

Crisis Text-Line

Text HOME to 741741. They have trained crisis counselors who will listen to you and help completely over text messaging. You can also contact them through

Phone Apps

There are many apps that focus on improving mental health.

Affiliated with the Center for Healthy Minds at UW-Madison, Healthy Minds Innovations recently launched a well-being app that is now FREE to anyone in light of the COVID-19 crisis thanks to donor support. The app, called the Healthy Minds Program, is a digital well-being tool backed by decades of science at UW.

Some other free apps are What’s Up, Mind Shift, Self-Help for Anxiety Management, CBT Thought Record Diary, Happify, Breathe2Relax, Clear Fear, Headspace: Meditation & Sleep, and many more.

Internet and Technology

Students are able to checkout laptops until May 8th for free from Memorial Library. Call ahead before going in.

Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

AT&T has home internet for limited income households at $10 a month. They will also not be terminating service due to the inability to pay during this time.


During this time, we strongly recommend social distancing. However, if you are healthy and in need of work, here are a few ideas.

Student Jobs Portal

There are listings posted now for childcare positions. You can also get a head start looking for a summer job. 

There is a high demand for childcare workers. also works for matching care for senior citizens.

Grocery Stores 

There are opportunities for limited term employment at different grocery stores that are paying very well. Stores currently hiring in Madison are Festival, Whole Foods, Hyvee, Metcalfe’s Market, Trader Joe’s, Pick n Save, Kroger, and possibly others.

Delivery Drivers

With restaurants only being able to serve carryout or delivery, there is an increased need for drivers to deliver food to customers. Also, companies like Shipt are in need of people to shop and deliver groceries.

Unemployment Information

Unemployment COVID-19 Public Information