Local grocery store partners with FHSU to donate food items

Dillons is partnering with Fort Hays State University to donate food items that are near expiration to the Tiger Food Exchange, a place where students, faculty and staff can access information regarding food and health along with the access to a food pantry. It is located on the first floor of the Forsyth Library and is open during library hours.

The Campus Food and Hunger Initiatives Committee manages the exchange and will receive both perishable and non-perishable items from Dillons. Dr. Shala Mills, chair of the Department of Political Science and co-chair of the committee, hopes the partnership will "increase and diversify" stock in the pantry.

"Almost everyone runs short on cash now and then and needs a little help," said Mills. "But it isn't just for folks who are food insecure."

Mills said a student baking cookies in a residence hall may not need to go out and buy a dozen eggs but may use the pantry for two eggs. Or, a student who misses lunch hour can use it for a late lunch.

Tiger Food Exchange is equipped with a refrigerator to store any of those close-to-expiration, non-perishable items. The exchange also seeks donations from anyone in the community with excess garden produce.

Fridays at the exchange will now be known as Fresh Food Fridays and will feature a fresh food item. During the first week of school, the featured item was eggs, supplied by Hays' Hall Street Dillons. A Kansas Health Foundation Healthy Living Grant makes fresh Food Fridays possible.

Mills described the exchange policy as, "Just go in, get what you need and leave what you can."

"Maybe you need some help this month, but maybe you can be the person bringing some canned goods by to donate to the pantry another month," she said. "It is all about exchange, not about hand-outs."

This semester, the committee hopes to add more information to the exchange through sharing nutritious recipe ideas, kitchen safety tips, USDA and K-State Extension information, and other valuable resources.

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