Background. University students are at risk of developing food insecurity due to reduced work availability and high living costs. On-campus food pantries can address food insecurity, by supplying students with access to free nutritious food. Aim. To investigate the importance, challenges, benefits and sustainability in the development and operation of an on-campus food pantry. Methods. A qualitative study comprising four semi-structured interviews with university management staff was conducted. Questions focused on the development and operation of the food pantry. One-hundred and one students completed an online survey, comprising qualitative and quantitative questions relating to food insecurity and food pantry use. The qualitative data from the survey was used for this study. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify key themes. Results. Three themes were identified amongst staff: the challenges, the benefits, and strategies for sustainability of the food pantry. Main challenges were costs, food diversity and stock availability. Benefits included decreases in mental, physical, and financial stress, and increased sense of community and student support. Student engagement, food literacy and financial knowledge were identified as future sustainability strategies. Prominent themes for student pantry use were to ease financial burden and to purchase additional and essential food items. Conclusion. Food pantry programs are an important component of the university landscape as they not only provide access to food but a sense of community, security, and stability for the student community. Ensuring sustainability of food pantry programs is key to helping students navigate and survive the challenges of being a university student. Copyright © 2021 Dietitians Australia. All rights reserved.