While college students across the country packed their bags in May and headed home for summer break, students from 24 Campus Kitchens stayed put, enabling operations in their kitchens to continue throughout the summer months. And the impact they had is astounding.
In June, July and August alone, nearly 2,500 volunteers served more than 10,000 hours, rescuing nearly 163,000 pounds of food, with which they created almost 40,000 meals. These meals were then served to more than 5,000 clients at 250 partner agencies.
Not only did our Campus Kitchens feed an incredible number of people, they continued to go beyond the meal to address the root causes of hunger in their communities. Fifteen new partnerships were developed, which led to innovative new programs like outdoor community building and fitness events for community residents at St. Lawrence University and increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach to at-risk populations in Boston, St. Louis, Spokane, Athens and Kent. Other new initiatives included produce deliveries to home-bound older adults, cooking demonstrations at farmers markets and community dinners.
In early August, 37 leaders from 19 Campus Kitchens gathered in Washington, DC for our annual Boot Camp training, where they brainstormed ways to expand their operations, increase their effectiveness and develop new programming. These students also served our two millionth meal as a network, a huge milestone they reached simply by using the resources already available on their campuses and in their communities.
Hunger doesn’t take a summer break – and neither did these Campus Kitchens. We’re proud of our students for their commitment to fighting hunger in their communities no matter what the season.