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Kroger, Waffle House, Chartwells and Busken Bakery to Provide Food for the Meal
FUEL NKU Dinner poster

November 19, 2018– Northern Kentucky University’s food pantry, FUEL NKU, invites students to celebrate Thanksgiving with its volunteers and community supporters. FUEL NKU has partnered with Jenergy, a local health and wellbeing company, to host the inaugural FUEL with Jenergy Thanksgiving Dinner on November 21.

Since 2013, FUEL NKU has provided food and essentials to students in a compassionate, confidential and safe environment. Even when the university is closed, these students still need support, and Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor, the founder of FUEL NKU, wanted to make sure everyone had chance to gather together and give thanks.

“Sharing a special meal is a meaningful way to connect with our students, especially those who may otherwise not have a chance to participate in Thanksgiving celebrations, like our international students and those who rely on FUEL NKU,” said Dr. Averitt Taylor. “Our goal at FUEL NKU is to support the campus community, and we love to bring people together.”

FUEL NKU is expecting 150 students to attend the Thanksgiving meal. To host a feast of this size, Dr. Taylor and Jenergy worked to secure sponsorships and leverage existing connections, like the recently announced partnership with The Kroger Foundation. In addition to expanding the FUEL NKU food pantry, Kroger will donate 300 pounds of turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner.

“Food is at the center of all our favorite celebrations, especially at Thanksgiving,” said Erin Rolfes, corporate affairs manager for the Cincinnati-Dayton division of The Kroger Co. “It’s a privilege to make sure every NKU student has a special holiday meal this week.”

The university’s external food services partner, Chartwells, pitched in to cover the side dishes, tableware, seasonal pies and drinks. Busken Bakery will donate 25 pumpkin pies, and Waffle House plans to set up a full waffle bar.

“It matters for us to facilitate partnerships with local community businesses, to grow our community support networks. These connections are absolutely vital, for us as a university and for our students. Long after graduation, our students will still have an established connection with these businesses,” said Dr. Taylor. “I also must thank Jenergy Owner, Jeni Houser. Jeni coordinates Beyond Fit, a student wellness organization at NKU, and she has served a key partner organizing and marketing this event.” 

The Thanksgiving Dinner is open for all NKU students. There is no cost, but students are encouraged to bring crackers, snack items, and breakfast/granola bars to donate to FUEL NKU. Visit the event page to register.

WHAT: FUEL with Jenergy Thanksgiving Dinner

WHEN: Wednesday, November 21 from 5pm to 7pm

WHERE: The James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union Ballroom

FUEL NKU was created by NKU Professor Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor in 2013, when she noticed students in her social work classes struggling with hunger. During the 2016-17 academic year, 650 students visited the pantry, and that number has increased every year. To help address this, NKU and The Kroger Foundation announced a partnership earlier this month to fight food insecurity on campus. The first phase of the partnership will expand FUEL NKU to more than seven-times its current size. Construction is scheduled to be complete in early 2019. To learn more about this project, click here.

About NKU:  Northern Kentucky University is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018! Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information on our 50th, visit