West Virginia University leaders, as well as representatives from Kroger Mid-Atlantic and Kraft Heinz, met in the Great Room of the Morgan House on Wednesday to unveil the relocation and completion of The Rack: West Virginia University Student Food Pantry.
Upgrades to the pantry were made possible by a combined $60,000 in donations from Kroger and Kraft Heinz and will allow it to serve more students facing food insecurity each year.
According to Thanh Le, WVU’s director of Student Engagement and Leadership, there can only be three students in the pantry space at a time due to COVID-19-related restrictions and social distancing policies.
Students can enter through the side door of the Morgan House on High Street and will need to knock to be let in and receive instructions.
“Students will need to scan their student I.D. when they enter in order to keep track of who is coming in and out of the pantry,” Le said.
The Rack provides non-perishable and perishable food items to all WVU students who are in need of assistance through WVU Student Engagement and Leadership. There is a limitation of what items students can take per day, but there is no limit to how many times students can visit per week.
“When students come in, they can fill out a laminated sheet to circle what they want, and our student employees will help put together a bag for them to take,” Le said.
WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris said, “Our newly renovated space aims to provide more products in a readily accessible space. The Rack provides our students a financial safety net and allows them to focus on their academic pursuits.”
According to Allison McGee, who is the corporate affairs manager of Kroger Mid-Atlantic, the grocery store chain is dedicated to eliminating hunger in the communities it serves through its partnerships.
“When people think about food insecurity, they don’t typically think about college students, but according to our surveys, over 36% of the students here at WVU are struggling with hunger,” McGee said. “There really is a need for this, and we’re thrilled to be here to do something about it.”
The pantry will be open to all students starting at 2 p.m. Feb. 17, and it will be open Monday through Friday 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.