WVU President Gordon Gee tours The Rack with Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.
A partnership between West Virginia University and two major U.S. food corporations — Kroger Mid-Atlantic and Kraft Heinz — will supply The Rack: Student Food Pantry, allowing students to have affordable and nutritious meals.
In the effort to upgrade and support the relocation of the pantry, announced today (Feb. 17), Kroger contributed more than $50,000 in cash and equipment while Kraft Heinz donated more than $10,000 in cash, food items and coolers.
The Rack has served more than 14,000 WVU students since it launched in 2010. While the demand for its services on campus has grown in recent years, space had been identified as a possible hindrance to access for students seeking its services.
After securing a new location in Morgan House, The Rack has expanded its physical footprint. As a result of the donations from Kroger and Kraft Heinz, the upgraded space now features additional shelving, new refrigeration and freezer units and updated painting and signage throughout.
“As we strive to nourish students’ minds and passions, we must never forget that so many struggle just to have enough to eat,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “I deeply appreciate the support shown by Kroger and Kraft Heinz which will help our students reach their full potential and will undoubtedly change lives.”
In 2019, Kroger Mid-Atlantic partnered with The Rack to provide gift cards to the food pantry on a quarterly basis, and the grocer will continue these donations to help ensure the pantry’s shelves are stocked moving forward.
“Combating food insecurity is one of our main focuses at Kroger, and we have been happy to partner with The Rack on their continued efforts to end hunger on campus,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “When we heard about the expansion plans, we knew it was a good opportunity for us to help and we are excited to see the impact of the upgraded pantry on West Virginia University students who need the help.”
“At Kraft Heinz, the importance of doing the right thing extends far beyond its significance as one of our company core values, it also reflects one of our key Environmental Social Governance principles of fostering healthy living and community support for those in need,” Tiffany Menyhart, Head of National Accounts Sales at Kraft Heinz, said. “As a food and beverage company, we recognize our unique role as a good corporate citizen to support communities in need, and we are proud to stand together with our partners at Kroger to ensure that West Virginia University students have access to the high quality food and beverage items they need to sustain a happy and hunger-free life.”
Increasingly, food insecurity on campuses is an issue facing college students. The College and University Food Bank Alliance estimates that 30% of college students in the U.S. are food insecure. On the West Virginia University campus, nearly 36% of Mountaineer students struggle with access to food on a regular basis.
"The Rack is an invaluable resource for all our students, particularly those who may find themselves in need of assistance,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “Our partnership with Kroger and Kraft Heinz has allowed us to offer expanded options in an enhanced and larger space that’s easily accessible. We appreciate their partnership in this important Student Life initiative."
Kroger is an official sponsor of West Virginia University Athletics, including football and men’s and women’s basketball.
Gifts to support The Rack were made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University. To contribute, visit the secure online giving page at give.wvu.edu.