Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Campus Kitchens Project comes to Virginia Tech

, September 30th, 2015

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One in eight Virginians struggles with food insecurity, and there is a great demand for services targeted towards those in need. Today, Virginia Tech joins The Campus Kitchens Project as the 48th Campus Kitchen. The Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech (CKVT) will work towards ending hunger in New River Valley by transforming unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets into healthy meals that are delivered to local agencies serving the community.

CKVT is sponsored by VT Engage and is the fifth Campus Kitchen in Virginia, joining Campus Kitchens at Washington and Lee University, the College of William and Mary, George Mason University, and the University of Virginia. CKVT will conduct cooking shifts at Wallace Hall. Volunteers will deliver meals to New River Valley Agency on Aging each Friday so that clients will have access to supplemental food on the weekends.

The program is made possible through collaboration with Virginia Tech Dining Services, and is building upon food recovery efforts already being done in the dining halls. The Campus Kitchen is also working with faculty and students within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Pamplin College of Business.

Virginia Tech is one of four schools that participated in the launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation in March 2015. A group of campus representatives created a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen and rallied thousands of supporters to vote for their entry. By the end of the competition, Virginia Tech’s submission received almost 9,500 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

Members of the national team have been in Blacksburg this week sharing best practices with CKVT student leaders, and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to run an effective community-based organization. We’re thrilled to welcome the students at Virginia Tech into our growing network, as they’ll help us prevent even more food from going to waste this year!

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, visit our Campus Kitchen Planner.

47 Strong: The Campus Kitchens Project comes to George Mason University

, September 22nd, 2015

IMG_6014Today, George Mason University joined The Campus Kitchens Project, becoming the 47th Campus Kitchen to become part of the national network.

The Campus Kitchen at George Mason University, sponsored by Auxiliary Enterprises in partnership with Sodexo, is the fifth Campus Kitchen in Virginia, joining the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University, the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia.

George Mason University is one of five schools that participated in a Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by AARP Foundation in October 2014. A group of campus representatives created a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen. George Mason University’s submission received more than 1,170 votes.

The Campus Kitchen at George Mason University will conduct cooking shifts at Southside Dining Hall, and will recover food from Southside, The Globe, and Mason Catering, with support from Sodexo. Volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at George Mason University will begin meal service at Cornerstones and the Katherine Hanley Shelter, with plans to add additional client agencies in the future as the organization expands on campus.

Matt Schnarr, our Expansion and Partnerships Manager, and Olivia Rogine, our Community Development Coordinator, are spending the next couple of days in Fairfax, sharing best practices with the student leaders who will be running the Campus Kitchen.

“On behalf of all the students involved with the Campus Kitchen at GMU, we are thrilled to officially launch,” said Kyle Brooks, President of the Campus Kitchen at George Mason University. “We are extremely grateful for the support from our sponsoring office, Auxiliary Enterprises, as well as Sodexo and Mason Dining. Though Fairfax is one of the wealthiest counties in America, there are many in our community who are food insecure. We look forward to a bright future for our Campus Kitchen and all of those who will benefit from our efforts.”

Students interested in volunteering with the Campus Kitchen at George Mason University should contact Kyle Brooks at kbrooks8@gmu.edu and like their Facebook page.

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, visit our Campus Kitchen Planner.

Click here to learn more about grant opportunities.

Who’s going to be number 50?

, September 18th, 2015

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From September to October, The Campus Kitchens Project will be launching four new Campus Kitchens across the nation. As CKP’s network continues to grow, we can’t help but wonder who will be our 50th Campus Kitchen. Will a Campus Kitchen surface in the mid-west? Or will our network continue expanding through the west coast? We can’t wait to see where our student leaders take us next. Stay tuned for more Campus Kitchen updates!

The 46th Campus Kitchen
The Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College (CKMC) is the 46th Campus Kitchen to bring our program to their campus. The student-led organization will provide free, healthy meals to North Andover residents by using recovered food that would otherwise go to waste.

The Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College, sponsored by the Center for Campus Ministry, is the second Campus Kitchen in Massachusetts, joining the Campus Kitchen at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Merrimack College is one of four schools that participated in our launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation in March 2015. A group of campus representatives created a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen and rallied thousands of supporters to vote for their entry. By the end of the competition, Merrimack College’s submission received almost 9,500 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus. Read more about CKMC here.

The 47th Campus Kitchen
Today, George Mason University joined The Campus Kitchens Project, becoming the 47th Campus Kitchen to become part of the national network.

The Campus Kitchen at George Mason University will conduct cooking shifts at Southside Dining Hall, and will recover food from Southside, The Globe, and Mason Catering, with support from Sodexo. Volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at George Mason University will begin meal service at Cornerstones and the Katherine Hanley Shelter, with plans to add additional client agencies in the future as the organization expands on campus. Read more about CKGMU here.

The 48th Campus Kitchen
Virginia Tech joins The Campus Kitchens Project as the 48th Campus Kitchen. The Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech (CKVT) will work towards ending hunger in New River Valley by transforming unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets into healthy meals that are delivered to local agencies serving the community.

Volunteers will deliver meals to New River Valley Agency on Aging each Friday so that clients will have access to supplemental food on the weekends. CKVT is sponsored by VT Engage and the program is made possible through collaboration with Virginia Tech Dining Services, and is building upon food recovery efforts already being done in the dining halls. Read more about CKVT here.

The 49th Campus Kitchens 
The University of Houston today joins The Campus Kitchens Project with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen, becoming the 49th Campus Kitchen to join the national network. The Campus Kitchen at the University of Houston (CKUH) is sponsored by The Bonner Leaders Program, a four-year service oriented leadership program hosted in The Honors College at the University of Houston. Student leaders at the Campus Kitchen at University of Houston will dedicate 5-10 hours of each week to conduct food recovery shifts at Fresh Foods at Moody Towers and Cougar Woods Dining Halls on campus, with support from Aramark.  Volunteers will begin meal deliveries with their community partners at New Hope for Housing. Student leaders are excited to be providing opportunities for their peers to grow, learn, and serve as hunger fighters. Read more about CKUH here.

 

Click here to start a Campus Kitchen.

The Campus Kitchen Project comes to Merrimack College

, September 18th, 2015

Merrimack College today joined The Campus Kitchens Project with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen. The student-led organization will provide free, healthy meals to North Andover residents by using recovered food that would otherwise go to waste. With the launch of the program, The Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College will become the 46th Campus Kitchen to join the national network.

The Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College, sponsored by Center for Campus Ministry, is the second Campus Kitchen in Massachusetts, joining the Campus Kitchen at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Merrimack College is one of four schools that participated in our launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation in March 2015. A group of campus representatives created a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen and rallied thousands of supporters to vote for their entry. By the end of the competition, Merrimack College’s submission received almost 9,500 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

The Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College will conduct cooking shifts at Sparky’s Dining Hall, the main dining hall on campus, and will recover food from Wholefoods Markets, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) partnership with Farmer Dave’s, and Sparky’s Dining Hall with support from Sodexo. Volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College will serve the Lazarus House Homeless Shelter each Sunday evening.

“It’s been a lot of work getting to our official launch, but I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved,” said Amy Byrne, a student volunteer with the Campus Kitchen at Merrimack College. “The Campus Kitchen system builds a healthier community from so many different angles, and we are so thrilled to get it up and running on our campus.”

Matt, our Expansion and Partnerships Manager, and Olivia, our Community Development Coordinator, are spending the next few days in North Andover sharing best practices with the student leaders who will be running the Campus Kitchen, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to run an effective community-based organization.

In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 972,664 pounds of food and served 310,948 meals to 15,418 clients. We’re thrilled to welcome the students at Merrimack College into our growing network, as they’ll help us prevent even more food from going to waste this year.

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, visit our Campus Kitchen Planner.

The Campus Kitchen at Auburn University aids East Alabama

, September 14th, 2015

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The Campus Kitchen at Auburn University is a leader in fighting hunger and food waste in the Auburn community. Auburn University is also the headquarters for Universities Fighting World Hunger. Most recently, the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University (CKAU) sought out collaboration with another campus organization to raise funds for a local partner agency in need of better resources.

CKAU connected with Committee of 19, another hunger fighting organization on Auburn University’s campus that advocates for food security. Through this student collaboration, the two organizations began a client partnership with the Food Bank of East Alabama’s Community Market, which works to alleviate hunger in the community through a friendly grocery-store environment.

On a visit to the Community Market one day, student volunteers heard about the Market’s need for more cooler space to keep produce fresher, longer. The students reached out to CKAU student leaders to collaborate on fundraising and possibly start bringing meals to the clients of the Market.

Acting quickly and resourcefully, CKAU and Committee of 19 began a fundraising campaign, secured a large contribution from the Waters Foundation, and gathered funds from CKP’s annual fundraiser, Raise the Dough. CKAU and the Committee of 19 raised over $1,000 for the Community Market. With these funds, the Community Market was able to purchase and install a three-door cooler.

The new refrigerator allows the Community Market to properly store large amounts of produce so food stays fresh for longer periods of time. Elsie Lott, the Community Market Coordinator, says, “Because of them we are able to get a lot more food in here and store it in this cooler. That has been a blessing for us.” Thanks to the efforts of our student leaders, this new addition will better help serve hungry families in the area and provide quality access to healthy foods.

Inside Look: Interning for The Campus Kitchens Project

, September 4th, 2015

I knew very little about hunger until I became an intern at The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP).

Every Tuesday and Friday I volunteered with five high school boys from the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga College High School to deliver meals to local food insecure seniors. Each of us would carry an insulated carrier, like the ones you see at baseball games with individual pizzas, filled with 250 healthy meals and deliver them to clients three blocks away from the CKP national office.

One afternoon, just as we handed out our last meal, a man in a wheelchair asked me if he could get his since he hadn’t been in his room at the time. My supervisor apologized to him and told him we were out.

“We come every Friday and Tuesday at 2:30pm, we can’t deliver if no one is home!”

“You can’t expect me to be caged up all day!” he yelled. “I was in the yard, getting air. You can’t expect me to be caged!”

The man, angry and hurt, felt he had to defend his desire to move around and get fresh air, all the while having to miss out on a meal.

“You’re right,” my supervisor said. “It gets stuffy in here, doesn’t it? I’ll make sure we come to the yard next time. Maybe we can all eat outside sometimes.”

The man nodded, but I could still see he was upset. In this moment, I was witnessing the complexities of hunger relief with my own eyes. A few seconds passed and another man in a wheelchair approached him.

“Here, I’ve got some extra sandwiches. I’ll put them in your backpack.” The man placed some pulled pork sliders in the other man’s bag and the two went back out into the yard to eat.

The rest of us packed up our stuff and went home, waving to the men as we left.

Throughout my time delivering, I began to better understand specific challenges faced by older adults leading to increased risk of food insecurity. Many of our clients require wheelchairs and others have limited mobility due to health concerns. Sometimes, I would wait for ten minutes at a door and then give up, assuming no one was home. I would be almost down the hall before I heard the door open and a voice calling to me. If it takes ten minutes to go from the kitchen table to the door, a trip to a grocery store could be comparable to the challenge of preparing to move apartments.

The barriers of mobility and the difficulties seniors face emotionally and physically from feeding themselves, whether that is living in a neighborhood with no affordable food options, or being unable to physically visit a grocery store. I also began to see the uncomfortable areas of service, the realities of hunger and homelessness you don’t see documented in someone’s service work.

At a recent Campus Kitchen training for student leaders, Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen and The Campus Kitchens Project, said that service has become too much about the giver and not enough about the receiver. My work with CKP has showed me that our organization cares most about empowering the clients we serve and ensuring that hunger relief is dignified and revolutionary.

We were faced with a problem, a missing meal, people in the community worked together to solve it. I saw the walls between giver and receiver fade. I started to see how service works better when we all identify as being a part of a community and utilize individual skills to work towards ending hunger. CKP is all about solutions from within and empowering communities. This internship showed me how this type of hunger relief is a combined effort. CKP is what it is because it utilizes everyone in the community, from local students’ ability to recover food; to a man making sure another man gets a meal he missed because he was outside.

 

By Corey Malone-Smolla, Summer intern

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