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University of Kentucky and Kroger’s investment targets zero hunger across its campus

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The Big Blue Pantry provides non-perishable food items to students of the University of Kentucky experiencing food insecurity.

University of Kentucky and Kroger Company’s campaign targeting zero hunger has led to the formation of an official partnership with The Big Blue Pantry, a campus facility providing non-perishable food items to students experiencing food insecurity.

This partnership will enable The Big Blue Pantry and Kroger to work together to eradicate the prevalence of food insecurity on the university’s campus.

The Big Blue Pantry is an on-campus service offers non-perishable goods to students with a valid student ID.

Through Kroger Company’s financial backing, the pantry’s operator, the UK’s Center for Community Outreach, was able to equip facilities with new shelving, furniture and office storage.

The grocery chain has also donated refrigerator and freezer units to improve the capacity and efficiency of the Big Blue Pantry.

Due to the support from Kroger, the pantry is now able to offer a larger assortment and variety of goods, including a greater inventory of both dry and cold-storage items.

These improvements have enabled the pantry to better serve students as well as foster a more welcoming environment.

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Kroger corporate affairs manager, Erin Grant said, “In 2017, Kroger launched our Zero Hunger, Zero Waste commitment. This commitment focuses on ending hunger in the communities we serve and eliminating waste from our stores by 2025.”

Grant added, “It is shocking that 40% of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, yet 1 in 8 Americans struggle with hunger. We all must do our part to change this.”

The Big Blue Pantry was established in 2014 to address food insecurity on campus. Its mission aims to provide support and awareness for food insecure students across campus as well as educate the broader student population about on-campus hunger. The service offers non-perishable goods to students with a valid student ID.

This is Big Blue Pantry’s first official partnership, according to The Center for Community Outreach’s assistant director, Abby Essinger.

Essinger said, “Kroger being willing to invest in our pantry shows the students that the community cares about them and wants to help them meet their goals of being successful college students without having to worry about skipping or missing meals.”

University of Kentucky’s President at the time, Eli Capilouto touted Big Blue Pantry as one of the university’s main efforts to combat food insecurity among students.

This service is one of university’s many initiatives – it has since implemented other programmes to address food insecurity, including the ONE Community Café, which enables students to purchase meals for just one dollar.

Studies have indicated food insecurity is a challenge that is plaguing students across campuses in the UK.

According to a recent survey done at the University of Kentucky, out of nearly 2,000 students interviewed, 43% stated that they experienced food insecurity on campus.

Nearly half of the students who participated in the survey reportedly faced actual hunger because they could not afford to buy food.