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Food Pantry for Hungry NKU Students to Expand

The food pantry on the campus of Northern Kentucky University is set to expand, thanks to a new partnership between the Kroger Foundation and NKU.

The goal is to fight food insecurity on campus.

The food pantry is known as FUEL NKU, and will be expanded to seven times its current size. The pantry will move from a 300-sq. ft. former mail room in the University Center to a 2,300-sq. ft. suite in the Albright Health Center.

In the 2016-17 academic year, 650 students visited the pantry, and in a news release, NKU said that the number has risen each year since.

“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 NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “I’m proud to partner with Kroger to enhance FUEL NKU’s services. Kroger has 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 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. We are very grateful for its support.”

Construction on the FUEL NKU expansion will begin in late fall and is expected to be complete early 2020.

-Staff report

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