Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Points for a Purpose

, December 19th, 2013

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As their final quarter wound down last spring, Bryan Berger and Dean Meisel witnessed waste on Northwestern University’s campus – but not with food: students were wasting meal points. A mutual friend of theirs had a ton of points left on her meal plan and bought the two lots and lots of food. But Bryan and Dean were leaving Evanston themselves in a few short days, so they donated their spoils to a food pantry. And with that action, an idea was born: Bryan and Dean wanted to encourage Northwestern University students to buy non-perishables with their extra meal points, which would then be donated to a local organization.

This fall, Bryan and Dean met with nuCuisine, Northwestern University’s dining service provider, to share their idea. Much to their surprise and delight, nuCusine wanted to take things a step further. Rather than have students purchase goods with their points, they would allow students to donate their points directly to the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU). In turn, CKNU would use the points to purchase food in bulk. Points for a Purpose was born. With just days to go before the end of the quarter, Bryan and Dean came up with a targeted outreach plan and began informing their classmates about their fundraiser.

In two weeks’ time, Points for a Purpose raised $1,245.87  for CKNU, all of which will be used to purchase bulk food items. This quick but extremely successful fundraiser not only provided food for CKNU’s operations, it also greatly raised awareness of the organization on Northwestern’s campus. In fact, the entire event was so popular, nuCuisine and CKNU are discussing options for holding it again.

Thank you, Bryan and Dean, for lending your energy and enthusiasm to CKNU! We are thrilled at your success.

Points for a Purpose is a chapter of Swipes for the Homeless, which works with campuses to translate donated meal plans into food, which they then deliver to agencies serving the homeless and hungry.

7,400 holiday meals

, December 17th, 2013

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Student volunteers at 29 Campus Kitchens across the country cooked up a special holiday season for their clients this year, collecting food items, including turkeys, and providing prepared meals or food baskets to the community partners their Campus Kitchens support. Throughout this holiday effort, 886 volunteers spent 2,771 hours serving up 3,846 meals and 907 holiday-themed food baskets to 84 different agencies. In all, 7,474 extra holiday meals were dished out in addition to the 20,800 meals Campus Kitchens serve on average each month.

Holiday meal services and deliveries varied across The Campus Kitchens Project network, though each Campus Kitchen made a concerted effort to serve their clients above and beyond their normal operations. Activities included:

  • At the Campus Kitchen at Gettysburg College, students distributed 3,588 pounds of food in 153 meals and 277 grocery bags, each of which contained enough food to feed a family of four.
  • The Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC prepared 60 holiday meals and additional snacks for their regular clients using food donated from a school food drive. Forty-five volunteers – including students, their families and a few clients the Campus Kitchen serves – spent 166 hours preparing and delivering the meals.
  • Students with the Campus Kitchen at the University of Georgia created 300 grocery bags containing 5,321 pounds of food, including 138 antibiotic-free turkeys donated by Earth Fare, fresh produce from UGArden and non-perishable goods from a YouGiveGoods online food drive. In addition, students prepared and served 150 individual meals to their senior clients with limited mobility.
  • In St. Louis, 86 volunteers spent 136 hours with the Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University, collecting 1,458 pounds of food used to create 376 meals and 98 grocery bags, which were delivered to eight client agencies.

We are so proud of our student leaders and volunteers, who are leaders in the field of student volunteerism and service learning.  Not only did they make a great impact this holiday season, they regularly commit to engaging in hunger relief efforts all year long. This year, they are on track to recover more food and serve more meals than last. As 2013 draws to a close, consider supporting our students and help deepen the impact they make in their communities by including The Campus Kitchens Project in your year-end giving.

Photo by Wake Forest University News Center

Kearney residents “Give Where You Live” to support CKUNK

, December 13th, 2013

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The Campus Kitchen at the University of Nebraska Kearney (CKUNK) raised $2,195 last week through a city-wide “Give Where You Live – Kearney Area” fundraising event that directed community donors to fund any one of Kearney’s 99 participating nonprofit organizations. The funds CKUNK raised will support their operations and allow them to grow as they work to serve healthy meals to food insecure individuals in their community.

Give Where You Live – Kearney Area was a one-day fundraising event that encouraged donors in the Kearney area to support local nonprofits, which in turn allowed area nonprofits to build their capacity and find new donors. In just one day, Kearney residents contributed about $450,000 – about $15 for every citizen in the community.

CKUNK received a variety of donations from more than a dozen supporters, including friends of the kitchen, a local construction company and a university chancellor. The funds raised will primarily be used to address their two largest roadblocks in meal operations: obtaining fresh fruit and supporting student volunteers who make their meal deliveries.

Because the local public school system and an area hospital are CKUNK’s primary food donors, the Campus Kitchen does not often receive donations of fruit. Therefore, they often must purchase fruit to round out the healthy meals they serve clients – and this becomes one of their largest expenses. In addition, CKUNK relies on a small group of student volunteers who donate their time and vehicles to deliver meals to clients. As each student typically makes 25-30 deliveries per route, the gas expenses add up. To offset these costs, CKUNK will implement a punch card system funded by these contributions that will supply students with $25 each time they complete five deliveries.

Not only did Give Where You Live – Kearney Area help CKUNK raise much-needed funds to sustain successful operations, the event also raised awareness of the organization in the Kearney community. Time will only tell what new partnerships may come of this single day of community giving.

Photo by Sara Giboney/UNK News

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