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WKU Office of Sustainability receives $30,000 grant from Jessie Ball duPont Fund to fight food insecurity


The Western Kentucky University Office of Sustainability received a grant of $30,000 from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to support the community food pantry and garden to assist members of the WKU community facing food insecurity.

The Office of Sustainability has hosted a food pantry since 2011, providing food and toiletries to WKU students, faculty and staff. In response to increasing food insecurities in the region linked to widespread unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the food pantry services were expanded to all community members in the region.

Dr. Leslie A. North, Associate Professor of Environmental Geography and Director of Sustainability at WKU, said the food pantry is distributing more food than ever before at a rate much faster than ever experienced.

The WKU Office of Sustainability has hosted a food pantry since 2011, providing food and toiletries.

“In seven weeks, the food pantry has received more visitors than we may normally receive in six months,” said North. “Our pantry survey, which is completed by each visitor, revealed that nearly 100 percent of our current visitors are utilizing our service because they are now facing unemployment or reduced hours of work.”

The WKU Office of Sustainability welcomes all individuals, and proof of need is not required. Since March 20, the food pantry has received 320 visitors and served a total of 624 individuals, based on pantry surveys.

“Extending support to the entire community is something we’ve wanted to do,” said North. “We want to let people know they are not alone if they are facing a situation of food insecurity. Resources from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will extend our ability to remain open to the entire community and reach more people in need.”

“Ideally, we would live in a world where we didn’t need food pantries, but we do not, so we want to strive to create a world where we can be there to support one another in our times of need,” said North.

The grant from the Florida-based duPont Fund will be used to replenish items with diminishing supply while ensuring that patrons are offered well-rounded, diverse food resources.

Grant funds will also be used to purchase supplies for use in the WKU Office of Sustainability Community Gardens, so the Office can continue to not only supply non-perishable food items through the pantry, but also grow and distribute fresh, healthy produce during the growing season.

“The feedback we hear most frequently is that the individual didn’t know the food pantry existed,” said North. “We want more people to know this resource is available.”

Located within the Office of Sustainability at 503 Regents Avenue in Bowling Green, the food pantry is open by appointment only. Please email leslie.north@wku.edu or leave a message at (270) 745-5982 to schedule an appointment. Appointments can be scheduled seven days a week and times are flexible. Every effort is made to schedule an appointment the same day as the request. Each patron is required to wear a mask.

To make a donation to the Office of Sustainability, click here.

From Western Kentucky University

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