The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation announces a $20,000 combined donation from Kroger and Kraft Heinz to renew support of the Virginia Western Student Co-Op fueled by Kroger. The Student Co-Op, which launched on campus in Fall Semester 2019, is aimed at eliminating student food insecurity at Virginia Western as part of Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Plan.

Kroger and Kraft Heinz donated $10,000 apiece to provide nutritious snacks and meals for students. In the 2019-2020 academic year, the Student Co-Op served more than 377 students, exceeding 2,454 student visits. It provided essential nourishment for food insecure students so they could continue their studies and succeed without worrying where and when their next meal would come.

“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 located in the Strauss Family Student Life Center and is managed through Virginia Western’s student services, operating on an honor system with students logging their ID numbers to enter the space. There are healthy snacks, nonperishable items to create family meals and refrigerated items students can eat before class. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been able to schedule an appointment to visit 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.”

Individuals interested in supporting the Virginia Western Student Co-Op, should contact Amanda Mansfield, Philanthropy Director of the Virginia Western Educational Foundation at amansfield@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6962.