PepsiCo is one of several brands on a mission to support HBCUs presently, and their latest initiative aims to help address food insecurity, which is a major issue at these colleges and universities. Driven by Pepsi Zero Sugar and Doritos SOLID BLACK, the organization recently donated $250,000 in grants to address food insecurity on campuses.
The grant will be spread across five universities and they’ll receive $50,000 each. The five in line to receive the grant include Morgan State University and Prairie View A&M University, Florida A&M University, Jackson State University, and Bethune-Cookman University. This initiative is one leg of PepsiCo’s larger HBCU tour, which aims to support students and celebrate the legacy of these historical universities.
“As a longtime supporter of HBCUs, PepsiCo has always aimed to help students thrive, both on campus and beyond. This year, our HBCU Tour continues to celebrate each universities’ rich culture and recognize the wealth of talent on campus, while also addressing the barriers students can face in completing their education,” said Kent Montgomery, senior vice president, industry relations and multicultural development for PepsiCo. “Our donation to tackle food insecurity is another example of our commitment to empower students and ensure their success in every aspect of their educational journey.”
Food insecurity in colleges is a persistent issue affecting one in three students across the nation, according to the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. Additionally, 40% of HBCU students experience food insecurity according to data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.
Each university has the autonomy to decide how to use the funds, but for the most part, the funds will support existing efforts to address food insecurity among the selected HBCUs. Some current initiatives include funding on-campus food pantry supplies, groceries, meal plans for homeless students, cooking and meal prep workshops, and stipends for student staff working in the pantries. PepsiCo also plans to distribute free meals to 2,000 students at select universities during winter finals that take place in December.
In addition to addressing food insecurity, PepsiCo also has plans to empower HBCU students through recruiting efforts via on-campus events, dinners amplifying local businesses, and opportunities to engage with PepsiCo leadership.