In this edition of The Oracle, we have compiled information on local places where anyone can find cheap or free food, clothes and general stuff! This article will start from the epicenter of campus life — the Student Union Building (SUB) — to begin the map of local resources for living on the cheap. The Hudson Valley, for all of its current cost of living issues and whatnot, does have a thick history of socialist movements and community care. Those aren’t just buzzwords to the folks who are really in it — to the people who take the notions of community sustainability and local socialism to heart, that means an action-based approach to keeping their communities fed and cared for. These groups of people have built up an amazing network of resources for our communities.
The SUB is home to our campus food pantry, which can be found on Instagram @nppantry. The food pantry serves all members of the campus community, from students on and off campus to the staff. To get food, you can either go to their location in SUB 307 during their open hours and get food right then, or you can fill out an electronic request form and pick up the requested food in the Haggarty building basement, by the mailroom.
Hours: Monday, 7 – 8 p.m., Tuesday, 12 – 6 p.m., Wednesday, 3 – 5 p.m., Thursday, 1 – 3 p.m., Friday 3 – 5 p.m.
Location: SUB 307
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Instagram, @nppantry
Away from campus but not very far, the New Paltz Free Food Fridge run by local nonprofit Million of Butterflies sits right at the corner of Plattekill Ave. and Hasbrouck Ave. in the parking lot of Town Hall. The Free Food Fridge is open 24/7, and people are invited to leave and take food at any time of day or night. The fridge is largely maintained by volunteers who check on it every day and make sure things are looking clean and groovy, so consider signing up to check on it once in a while! The sign-up sheet and other pertinent information can be found on the fridge’s Instagram, @newpaltzfreefoodfridge. But regardless of ability to volunteer, students should feel comfortable taking the short walk from campus to check out the fridge’s contents if they find themselves short on groceries. The fridge is kept stocked by local donations, Consider dropping your unwanted but still good food! If you do donate, though, please review the fridge’s guidelines for donations before doing so. It’s hard to keep a community fridge up and running, but it is so important to have one and so everyone doing their part to keep it running smoothly is appreciated and an act of communal self-care.
Hours: Every hour of every day 24/7.
Location: Town Hall parking lot, 25 Plattekill Ave.
Contact: @newpaltzfreefoodfridge on Instagram
Going even farther afield, the nearby city of Kingston, NY has some really great resources, both longstanding and brand-new to the community. To start off, Kingston has a couple of free food fridges of their own. These community fridges are open to all, and anyone is invited to drop off and pick up food during its operating hours (it is locked overnight). It is requested that the folks who utilize the fridge take care of it by respecting it. The free food fridges in Kingston can be found at Beyond the 4 Walls located at 14 Van Buren St. and at the Methodist Church Located at 122 Clinton Ave. in Kingston, NY.
Hours: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. 7 days a week
Location: 14 Van Buren St., Kingston, NY and 122 Clinton Ave., Kingston, NY
Contact: Instagram: @kingstoncommunityfridges
A newcomer to the Kingston free resources map is the “free store” that lives inside of a new coffee shop on Abeel Street called Blackbird Coffee. The shop opened in 2021, and is founded on the ideals of community care, social sustainability and food sovereignty for all. And, of course, good coffee. The coffee shop itself is beautiful, taking residence in an old, stained-glass windowed building on the Rondout riverfront. They feature locally roasted and sustainably sourced coffee from The Ship and the Whale coffee roasters in Stone Ridge, NY, and their coffee program is fantastic. The owner has set up a “free store” inside of the shop that functions like a free food fridge, but for things! There’s a large shelving unit inside where people drop off all sorts of useful items, from kitchenware to socks to books to tools to art supplies. Anything on the shelf is up for anyone to take. Having that sort of space for community members to leave whatever they don’t need so that it can find its way into the hands of someone who would use it is the sort of infrastructure that makes local, grassroots socialism go round.
The free store inside of Blackbird Coffee has also recently added a clothing rack full of really cool pieces. Blackbird recently hosted a pop-up from local organization Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley, which is a great resource for free gender-affirming clothes in the area. The pop-up was a hit, but a lot of clothes were still left over at the end due to such an awesome influx of donations, and so, the free store’s clothing section was born. The clothing rack also has a shoe compartment, so bring in those boots you never wear and that skirt that just never fit right.
Hours: Monday, 6:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday, 6:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, closed, Friday, 6:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The free store is open for use all hours that the coffee shop is open.
Location: 587 Abeel Street, Kingston, NY
Website for Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley: transclosethv.org