A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKU, Kroger Foundation partner to fight food insecurity, expand university food pantry, FUEL NKU

Northern Kentucky University and The Kroger Foundation announce a partnership to fight food insecurity on NKU’s campus. The first phase of the partnership will expand the university’s food pantry, FUEL NKU, to more than seven times its current size.
 
FUEL NKU provides food and essentials to students in a compassionate, confidential and safe environment. During the 2016-17 academic year, 650 students visited the pantry, and that number has increased every year.
 
“Food insecurity is a significant deterrent to students’ success. Students face difficult choices and often times don’t have money left for food. This can prevent so many from their ability to learn, thrive and complete their education. FUEL NKU covers this essential need and keeps our students from having to go hungry,” said President Ashish Vaidya. “I’m proud to partner with Kroger to enhance FUEL NKU’s services. Kroger has a long, rich history of taking care of the communities it serves, and this is truly a wonderful example of a public-private partnership to improve our students’ lives.”

 

FUEL NKU’s current location, a 300-square-foot old mailroom in the University Center, has limited offerings because of the space constraints. With Kroger’s investment, the pantry will move to a 2,300 square-foot suite in the Albright Health Center.
 
“FUEL NKU’s mission to feed the university and enrich lives connects directly to Kroger’s goal of creating a world without hunger,” said Scott Hays, division president for the Cincinnati-Dayton division of Kroger. “When students know where their next meal is coming from, they can achieve better results. We’re proud to help NKU make positive change in these students’ lives.”
 
FUEL NKU’s new suite in the Albright Health Center will allow for refrigerated and freezer storage for healthier food options, expanded areas for students to visit and relax after visiting the pantry. The location will also have space to provide wrap-around services for students for case management services, including connections to campus and community resources. 
 
FUEL NKU was created by NKU Professor Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor in 2013 when she noticed students in her social work classes struggling with hunger. Over the past five years, FUEL NKU has also created a campus community committed to fighting hunger.
 
“This food pantry relies exclusively on the support of our campus and community partners. Kroger’s investment is a game changer – it will have an immense impact on our students’ lives,” said Dr. Averitt Taylor. “Kroger’s commitment to our pantry is a shining example of a Cincinnati icon making a difference.”
 
Construction on the FUEL NKU expansion will begin in late fall and is expected to be complete early 2020.
 
The Kroger Co. is dedicated to its Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. Its nearly half-a-million associates serve over nine million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names.
 
Northern Kentucky University is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1968, it is a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff.

Kroger, NKU and FUEL NKU announce the partnership to fight hunger

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