Kroger, Kraft Heinz donate $20,000 to Virginia Western Student Co-Op to help combat food insecurity

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David Dantzler, Kroger executive; Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic; Glenn Thompson, Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division President; and Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western took part in the donation of $20,000 to the Student Co-Op. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Western)

David Dantzler, Kroger executive; Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic; Glenn Thompson, Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division President; and Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western took part in the donation of $20,000 to the Student Co-Op. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Western)

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – On Wednesday afternoon, the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation announced a $20,000 combined donation from Kroger and Kraft Heinz in order to renew support for the Virginia Western Student Co-Op.

According to the statement released by Virginia Western on Wednesday, Sept. 9, the Student Co-Op — launched on campus in fall 2019 — works toward eliminating student food insecurity at Virginia Western as part of Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Plan.

Officials say Kroger and Kraft Heinz each donated $10,000 to provide nutritious snacks and meals for food insecure students. The Student Co-Op served more than 377 students, going beyond 2,454 student visits in the 2019-2020 academic year, according to Wednesday’s statement.

“Before we launched the Student Co-Op, we estimated that up to 50 percent of our approximately 10,000 Virginia Western students could be going hungry every day. Through the immediate popularity of the Co-Op, we learned how real the need was,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “As the world has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are surely many more students who will need the sustenance that comes from the Co-Op. We are extremely thankful for Kroger and Kraft Heinz for their ongoing support of our students’ success.”

The Student Co-Op is managed through Virginia Western’s student services and works to provide healthy snacks, nonperishable ingredients for family meals, and refrigerated items students can eat before class, Virginia Western says. In addition, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students have reportedly been able to schedule an appointment or order online for pickup.

“Food insecurity on college campuses is an unfortunate reality for far too many students,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “We felt privileged to be a part of launching the Student Co-Op in the fall of 2019, and are glad to continue our support of the important work being done on Virginia Western Community College’s campus.”

If you are interested in supporting the Virginia Western Student Co-Op, contact Amanda Mansfield — the Philanthropy Director of the Virginia Western Educational Foundation — by emailing amansfield@virginiawestern.edu.

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