Tennessee State University and Kroger celebrated the grand opening of the newly expanded and relocated Tiger Food Pantry on Oct. 7. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place outside Wilson Hall on the campus of TSU.
The new pantry is the result of a partnership between Kroger and TSU to help continue to address food insecurity on campus.
The college and University Food Bank Alliance estimates that 30 percent of college students in the U.S. are food insecure. The pantry will offer TSU students in need access to shelf stable food items, frozen meals and fresh product at no cost. The pantry will be open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and will be staffed in part by student volunteers.
“We are extremely grateful to have this partnership with Kroger that will allow us to do even more to meet the needs of our students,” said Frank Stevenson, associate VP of student affairs and dean of students at TSU. “The last thing they need to worry about is what they’re going to eat. Partnerships like this between the business community and TSU show the concern companies like Kroger have for the well-being of our students. Together, we can make a difference.”
As the presenting partner of the Tiger Pantry, Kroger contributed $25,000 in cash as well as equipment to TSU to help establish the new pantry inside Wilson Hall.
“Through our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan, we are committed to ending hunger in the communities we call home and eliminating waste in our company,” said Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for the Kroger Nashville division. “It is through partnerships like this one with TSU and the Tiger Pantry that we can address food insecurity while helping students succeed.”
While some of the fresh food for the pantry will come from Kroger, most of the food for the Tiger Pantry will come through Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. As a Second Harvest Partner Agency, TSU will have access to food through the food bank to select the items best suited for the students’ needs.
“Students facing hunger don’t always have access to the foods they need to reach their full potential even as they enter college,” said Nancy Keil, president and CEO of Second Harvest. “We are proud to partner with TSU and Kroger to provide greater access to food directly on campus so students can focus on achieving their goals instead of wondering where their next meal will come from.”
The Tiger Pantry officially opened to students on Oct. 8.