LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 5, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Big Blue Pantry has opened its first location within the UK medical center, providing quick, on-the-go goods to students with food insecurity in this major area of campus.
The new "Grab 'N Go" station, based in the Kentucky Clinic's Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives (CGPDI) office, will offer patrons a pre-packed bag of staple pantry items, such as canned soups, beans, veggies, oatmeal, rice and pasta. The CGPDI office is located in suite 307A of the clinic.
Patrons whose needs are unmet by these pre-packed bags may still visit the pantry's primary location in 025 Whitehall Classroom Building on the main campus.
“This new option was originally envisioned by students as another way to make the food in the pantry accessible to students across campus," said Grace Hahn, director of UK Student Organizations and Activities. "Their hope was to increase accessibility and allow students who take classes or work on the health care side of campus to access this resource.”
The Big Blue Pantry serves UK students who are experiencing food insecurity or hunger. Any UK student with a valid UK ID is eligible to receive non-perishable goods.
The Kroger Company recently became an official partner of the Big Blue Pantry and has invested greatly in the program. In addition to providing food donations, Kroger has updated the physical space with new shelving and décor, and donated both refrigerator and freezer units, as well as office furniture and storage. These changes enable the pantry to better serve students as well as foster a more welcoming environment.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.