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Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry receives donations from Pepsi, Winn Dixie

Representatives from the Hitchcock Field & Fork pantry pose for a photo alongside employees from Pepsi and Winn Dixie. (Joseph Jackimczuk/WUFT News)
Representatives from the Hitchcock Field & Fork pantry pose for a photo alongside employees from Pepsi and Winn Dixie. (Joseph Jackimczuk/WUFT News)

In partnership with Winn Dixie, Pepsi donated $50,000 to the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry.

The donations came in the form of $20,000 in Winn Dixie gift cards donated by Pepsi, as well as $5,000 in groceries courtesy of Winn Dixie.

According to the University of Florida's Marketing and Communications Specialist Jenn Moyer Banfield, the pantry also received an additional $25,000 grant from Pepsi.

Located on the University of Florida campus, the Hitchcock Field and Fork pantry specializes in providing food for students with food insecurities.

On Wednesday morning, a day the pantry is usually closed, the doors were open for a celebration held in honor of the donation.

Employees of both companies and various members of UF Faculty attended, including UF Student Life Vice President Dr. Heather White.

"This is life-changing for our campus community,” said White. “The pantry serves our students, our faculty, and our staff, and with the increased cost of food and supplies and products right now, this is more important than ever."

Alongside White was UF Assistant Vice President for Business Services Eddie Daniels, humbled by the gratitude of the donation.

"It's a beautiful day,” said Daniels,” and I think having Pepsi and Winn Dixie here to make this presentation on this day is just wonderful."

The donations given will also go towards the pantry's Chop and Chomp food drive, which pits UF's student pantry against that of Florida State University to see who receives more donations over a certain period of time. The last day to donate to the Chop and Chomp food drive was Wednesday.

As the holiday season approaches, Dr. White is excited about what’s next for the pantry.

"We are just looking forward to future partnerships and continuing to serve and expand the reach of the Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry," said White.

Pepsi and Winn Dixie's donation to the University of Florida comes on the heels of their $25,000 donation to Nova Southeastern on Tuesday.

The recent donations to the two Florida universities have been part of Pepsi’s national initiative Pepsi Stronger Together, which aims to spread awareness of the problems plaguing local communities and encourage engagement as the solution.

Joseph is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.