Hunger Solutions Institute awarded Community Impact and Innovation Grant

The College of Human Sciences’ Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) was awarded the Community Impact and Innovation Grant from Shipt, a multi-retailer, same-day shopping and delivery marketplace headquartered in Birmingham, AL.

"Hunger Solutions Institute is grateful to Shipt’s support of Healthy Food Hotspots. HSI is committed to working alongside communities and grocers, like Wright’s Market, to determine a sustainable solution for rural food deserts." - Alicia Powers, Managing Director of Hunger Solutions Institute.

More than 1.8 million Alabama residents live in food deserts, where the closest grocery store is 45 minutes away. HSI uses Healthy Food Hotspots to bring nutritious food to vulnerable populations, and with the help of the Auburn Family and corporate partners like Shipt, they hope to reach even more people in need.

“As an Alabama-based same-day delivery service, we are thrilled to support the expansion of the Healthy Food Hotspots initiative. Shipt is committed to increasing access to healthy foods and the initiatives’ use of technology and a mobile store are promising innovations to better serve our communities" - Khadijah Abdullah, Vice President of Economic Development and Social Impact at Shipt.

Healthy Food Hotspots seeks to utilize technology to expand options for brick-and-mortar stores to increase access to fresh, healthy foods and remedy food deserts in rural America. Auburn University students, equipped with mobile hotspots and devices, travel to a participating site to assist residents in ordering groceries online from Wright’s Markets. Groceries are then delivered by Wright’s Market using a refrigerated van to the participating site the day following order placement.

An additional option of Healthy Food Hotspots, made possible by Shipt’s generosity, is a rolling store available at the same time as delivery of online grocery orders. Wright’s Market curates a limited inventory of produce, meats, and staple foods to stock the rolling store. Shoppers physically shop at the rolling store and purchase desired foods using a mobile register device.

For more information about the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University, visit