Nashville, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and Kroger celebrated the grand opening of the newly expanded and relocated Tiger Food Pantry on Oct. 7 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside Wilson Hall where the pantry is located.
The pantry, which is on the lower level of the dormitory, 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 United States 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 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11am – 3pm, 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 vice president 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.
Student Government Association President Derrick Sanders said the pantry removes a concern a student should not have.
“It cost a lot to go to college,” said Sanders, a senior English major from Cincinnati, Ohio. “Some students are paying off loans, balances, and dealing with other things. The last thing they need to worry about is food.”
Nancy Keil, president and CEO of Second Harvest, agreed.
“Students facing hunger don’t always have access to the foods they need to reach their full potential even as they enter college,” said Keil. “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 will officially open to students on Oct. 8.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.