ASUM Bear Necessities

For urgent questions regarding housing and shelter dial 549-HOPE (549-4673) from any phone to get in touch with the Missoula Coordinated Entry System.

About Us

Bear Necessities has three arms of service:

  • Direct Support in the form of case management and food distribution through the UM Food Pantry.
  • Education through our resource library (available in office and online) and events.
  • Advocacy for the implementation of additional programming to support students experiencing needs insecurity. 

Bear Necessities provides support for students living through or on the edge of basic needs insecurity. Through connecting students with badly-needed resources, helping determine priorities and next steps, and providing emotional support, Bear Necessities staff can wade through difficult situations with students so they do not need to go it alone. Poverty can feel like a full-time job! We are here to help students find ways to have their needs met while also protecting their time to succeed in academics and their personal life.

Additionally, Bear Necessities works closely with UM’s student government and the UM Food Pantry (an organization under our umbrella) to advocate for systemic change in order to prevent students from experiencing basic needs insecurity in the future. This can look like increasing access to resources that currently exist, helping establish further resources, and engaging in discussion with on and off campus partners to correct assumptions made about the experiences of today’s college students.

 The work we do is important not only because basic necessities are a human right, but also because by increasing student access to basic needs we enhance their educational experience, increase progress toward their educational goals, and improve UM students’ retention rates.

Inclusion Statement

Bear Necessities is dedicated to supporting & empowering all students by educating ourselves on the experiences of marginalized students & working to deconstruct the systems of power & oppression that contribute to basic needs insecurities among students whose lived experiences are impacted by their race, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, neurodiversity, disability, and/or marital, parental, and veteran status.

Follow Us



Students with pressing needs can get in touch with our program at any time through the online form linked at the top of this page. Staff will be in touch within two business days of receiving this form. Please see the table below for additional resources. 



Kat Cowley, Director

Kenzie Carter, Program Coordinator

Hours & Location:

  • Mon - Fri: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • University Center Room 118
  • Closed for University holidays


The ASUM Bear Necessities agency supports students experiencing basic needs insecurity, closes gaps in resources for students, and advocates for change to prevent future need.

Additional Campus and Community Resources


Experiencing hunger or a shortage of food?

Experiencing Housing stress or insecurity?

Need other help?

University of Montana Food Pantry

See website linked above for hours.

Available to students and community members, come when you can and take what you need.

Also check out the additional satellite locations around campus.

ASUM Legal Services

For help negotiating with landlords, information about your rights as a tenant, and other legal assistance.

Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm

Mansfield Library

Study spaces, desktop computers, printing services, other resources.

“We provide our campus and community members the opportunities to understand the past, analyze the present, and prepare for the future as globally-engaged citizens.”

Technology available for check out

Missoula Food Bank & Community Center

Open Mon/Tues/Thurs 10am-7pm, and Wed/Fri 10am-1pm
Available to all, come when you can. Some limits on specific food items. 

Take the UDash Purple line to Westside lanes, Food Bank is across street. approx. 15 minutes.

Montana Emergency Rental Assistance

“Supports Montanans who have experienced financial hardships as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of housing instability.”

See website (linked above) for eligibility, application, and more information.

Curry Health Center

Curry Health Center provides quality, affordable and accessible health care for students at UM. Our medical, counseling, dental and wellness departments promote a healthy campus by partnering with students in meeting their health care needs within a framework of compassion, respect and inclusiveness.

Call 406-243-2122 for appointments and hours

Missoula Community Free Fridge

Locations all over Missoula. See Instagram page for location details, guidelines, and more info.

Poverello Center

Emergency shelter, laundry and showers also available.

Supportive services 6am-8pm; nightly check-in 8:45pm

Daily meals:            6am-7:30am, 11:30am-1:45pm and 5pm-6:30pm

Food Pantry: Mon/Wed/Fri      5:30pm–7pm

110 W. Broadway 406-728-1809

Curry Health Center WELLNESS

Curry Health Center Wellness helps students develop healthy lifestyle behaviors to enhance student success and well-being. By helping students live well, in turn, we help them succeed academically at UM. Our services for students are free of charge.

Walk-in or call 406-243-2809

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Application assistance through Bear Necessities, schedule appointment with link above

Application assistance through Montana Food Bank Network

Double SNAP dollars at the Missoula Farmer’s Market

Johnson St. Emergency Shelter


All are welcome who can be safe, kind, and respectful (including pets). Check-in available at all hours except 10am – 12pm

1919 North Ave W

Office for Student Success

The OSS helps students to meet three goals: transition smoothly to college, remain enrolled and progress in a program of study, and graduate in a timely manner.

OSS include: Undergraduate Advising Center, Financial Education, Peer Connection Network, Writing and Public Speaking Center, and more.

Contact: 406-243-2800

Nutrition Counseling

A registered dietitian can help students make sure their nutrition needs are being met while experiencing food insecurity. 

Contact Laura Granlund for more information. 

City of Missoula Housing Resources

There are a number of resources in Missoula intended to help Missoulians afford their homes and reach their housing goals. 

See this page for renter and homeowner resources. 

ASUM Short Term Loan

Up to $500 short term loan available to students in emergencies. The application can be found on Cyberbear on the Student Services Page under Student loans.