DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas has received a financial boost from The Kroger Co, as part of Kroger Zero Hunger Zero Waste commitment, to help students facing food insecurity on campus.
In a small campus event Thursday, Kroger announced a five-year, $250,000 financial commitment to support the university’s food pantry. As part of the donation, the university resource space in Crumley Hall will now be renamed the UNT Food Pantry Presented by Kroger.
With the added support, UNT will be able to ensure the food pantry’s shelves remain stocked and that it can employ two student workers to assist with inventory, volunteer management and the online order system put in place during the pandemic.
“This generous donation from Kroger is going to allow our food pantry to strengthen its efforts to fight the food insecurity our students experience,” said Elizabeth With, UNT vice president for student affairs. “We are so grateful to Kroger for partnering with us in this important work that will benefit our students for years to come.”
Across the nation, more than 30% of college students are food insecure and this stressor can impact student success in the classroom, according to the College & University Food Bank Alliance. Research from UNT Anthropology Professor Lisa Henry revealed that many college students also experience shame and mental health problems in connection to food insecurity.
UNT aims to alleviate the barriers and challenges associated with food insecurity and hunger, so students can remain in school and, ultimately, earn degrees that will help them lead successful lives. In 2015, the UNT Dean of Students established the food pantry to provide an accessible on-campus food source for students in need. Since it first opened its doors, the pantry has served more than 9,000 visitors.
Through its community partner, Kroger, the university can further its work of providing healthy and nutritious food with protocols that allow for student confidentiality and dignity to be maintained.
“We are honored to partner with the University of North Texas for this important initiative as we work together to address food insecurity across the communities we serve,” said Adam Wampler, Kroger Dallas Division president. “At Kroger, we aim to Feed the Human Spirit and through this donation, we hope UNT students will never have to worry about their next meal – and can continue to focus on their studies and excel as our future leaders.”