Kennesaw State, Kroger partnering to boost campus resources at nine HBCUs

A color drawing of a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables

The following article by Darius Goodman first appeared on the Kennesaw State University website

Kennesaw State University is teaming with Kroger to ensure that college students have access to food and other basic necessities, through a partnership that will establish and expand campus resource pantries at nine other universities.

Funded by a gift from the Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, KSU’s Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services will train staff members at nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Kroger’s South Region on how to operate and sustain campus food pantries. The participating schools will follow Kennesaw State’s CARE RoadMap, an interactive training guide for serving and supporting students who have experienced homelessness, foster care and/or food insecurity.

“Food insecurity is a significant challenge that many college students face, and we can make a difference for students throughout the country by sharing our knowledge and best practices with other schools,” said Lauren Padgett director of CARE Services. “We have seen firsthand how beneficial these initiatives are to Kennesaw State students, and we look forward to expanding that meaningful impact.”

In 2021, Kroger’s Atlanta Division partnered with KSU’s CARE Services to increase the scope and capacity of the University’s two campus pantries, donating $50,000 for items including double-wide freezers, refrigerator, shelving units and a mobile kiosk, as well as design assistance.

A major study released in August 2023 by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education found HBCU students face high levels of food insecurity. According to the study, nearly 2 in 5 undergraduate students at HBCUs (38.8%) report food insecurity.

“This donation is helping fund support systems to address a very basic need and ensure students at HBCUs do not face hunger alone,” said Felix Turner, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s South Region. “It furthers our commitment to Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission to build a more resilient, equitable and sustainable food system that improves access to affordable, fresh food for everyone.”

Established in 2013, CARE Services provides access to food, temporary housing, and other supportive services to foster students’ realization of a healthy, stable, and dignified life academically and professionally. CARE serves approximately 2,200 students per year through programs including one-on-one case management, emergency temporary and long-term housing assistance, food pantries on both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses, scholarships, and temporary work programs. Kennesaw State’s CARE Services has been recognized as a National Best Practice Model by the National Center for Homeless Education, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, and SchoolHouse Connection.