At the 2017 Food Waste & Hunger Summit, Campus Kitchens from around the country gathered to celebrate their accomplishments over the past year. Below are eight individuals and Campus Kitchens with awards acknowledging their commitment to fighting hunger and dedication to the Campus Kitchen network.
Community Impact Award – honors a Campus Kitchen that has made a measurable impact on food insecurity in their community, and has put in the effort to track their outcomes.
The Campus Kitchen at the University of Georgia
CKUGA leads the way in program evaluation, measuring the impact of their work. Last fall, they realized many of their older adult clients struggled with issues beyond hunger, including lack of mobility. They decided to develop a survey to evaluate the prevalence of these issues, distributing the surveys at a community meal. They asked questions about food insecurity, the ability to perform housework, and social isolation over the holidays. The surveys they received back allowed them to understand their clients’ needs in a new way, and come up with a plan to address them. They also do a fantastic job of evaluating the results of their Lunch Buddy Program, which has demonstrated that 90% of their clients feel less isolated as a result of the program.
In addition, this Campus Kitchen has recently been selected to receive a $50,000 subgrant, sponsored by AARP Foundation, to develop evaluation resources and help all of our Campus Kitchens effectively measure the impact that their work has on senior hunger.
This Campus Kitchen takes the work they do seriously. They are not content to simply run a program for its own sake, but endeavor to understand the results they are having, with the aim of delivering the maximum impact for their clients.
Harvester – awarded to a student who has brought cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills to their Campus Kitchen.
Carson Bell, The Campus Kitchen at the University of Florida
Carson Bell is a Sustainability Studies Major who has brought her program new life. When she joined the Leadership Team in 2015 the program was struggling with a small LT and a lack of strong leadership. She realized the potential the program had to address hunger in their community. Under her leadership, she was able to bring energy and purpose to the Leadership Team meetings and recruit new volunteers.
Strong leadership was not the only issue this program was facing. They desperately needed to develop new partnerships to obtain food donations. She was able to secure regular donations from Greek organizations, restaurants, and on-campus dining services. Her organizational skills, her ability to rally the student volunteers around the purpose the Campus Kitchen, and the ability to face challenges with perseverance have been impressive.
Nopalitos Award – goes to the Campus Kitchen who never faltered in the face of adversity and instead rose to every challenge and took every difficulty in stride.
The Campus Kitchen at Augsburg
We never cease to be amazed by the hard work and creativity that Campus Kitchen leaders invest in their work. Last month at CKAC, the University’s main dining hall kitchen–where the students prepare meals–had a small fire. As a result, they did not receive food donations, nor did they have space on campus to cook. They called on their connections in the neighborhood and reached out to other campuses, and were able to get food donated once per week from a neighboring university, and use the kitchen at one of their client agencies. The shift leaders and volunteers did an incredible job getting food safely to the new cooking space, and turning it into delicious meals so that their service to their clients could go on. Through the process, they even made new partnerships for food sourcing that they plan to continue after they return to their regular routine. At a time when it would have been easy to give up, they overcame an unexpected difficulty with grace and a focus on providing uninterrupted service to those who depend on them.
Going Beyond the Meal - recognizes the Campus Kitchen that demonstrates excellent “beyond the meal” initiatives in service to their community.
Wyndi Moore, The Campus Kitchen at Baldwin Wallace University
While the Going Beyond the Meal award is traditionally given to a Campus Kitchen overall, and not to one particular individual, this year we’re going to recognize one Leadership Team member who fills the role of “Beyond the Meal Coordinator” for her Campus Kitchen. After her first few volunteer shifts Wyndi pointed out the problematic power dynamic that was being created at monthly meals where volunteers stood in a line and served food to the residents, and suggested that meals be served family-style to truly build community and break down barriers between volunteers and older adult residents. This simple change shifted the whole dynamic of our meals. Residents are now engaged in identifying the types of programs they are interested in, and these have included a SNAP outreach and education event where residents could learn more and sign up for benefits, music programs, nutrition education workshops, healthy housing workshops, as well as an art therapy session where residents were able to connect through a painting experience. Each of these events was the result of an idea that residents developed or specifically requested, and Wyndi always finds a way to make the resident’s ideas come to reality. She has also broken down walls between campus and community by inviting these same senior clients to a campus cookout, and to join the Campus Kitchen meal shifts, creating a fantastic experience for all the volunteers. Her creativity, care for the community and empowering approach to programming has developed an incredibly powerful and impactful connection for the Campus Kitchen program.
Growing the Movement – this award recognizes the Campus Kitchen that has looked beyond the change that they can achieve in their own community and has given back to the entire Campus Kitchens network.
The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee
While most Campus Kitchens raise funding for their work through our annual Raise the Dough Competition, this CKWL does something different. Each winter, they host an event for individual donors to support their work. This year, thanks in large part to their organizer, they raised $11,000 to support their backpack program, which packs 700 bags every week for impoverished students receiving free and reduced lunch throughout the surrounding community. They have not only created this innovative program on their own, but they have shared resources with the rest of the network online to encourage others to undertake similar programs. And it’s not just current Campus Kitchens that they’re willing to share their expertise with—this year, this Campus Kitchen hosted a group of visitors from James Madison University, and thanks in part to their inspiring example, James Madison University just launched their own Campus Kitchen!
Ingrid Easton Student Visionary – celebrates the entrepreneurial drive in our student leaders, who dream big and make it happen. The award is named in honor of Ingrid Easton, Washington and Lee University graduate who achieved her goal of opening a Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University in 2006.
Abby Biddle, The Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson College
This incredible student serves as the Program Coordinator for her Campus Kitchen, which just launched in September, and is always willing to step up and make sure things get accomplished. This program would not have been such a success without her leadership this year. As a first year program, the Campus Kitchen naturally encountered a few hiccups, and this student leader was always there to help and to get the team over these initial hurdles. She would always offer to stay longer if necessary or pick up anything that would otherwise fall through the cracks. This person was nominated by both staff and fellow students. Not only has she done a fantastic job of getting her new Campus Kitchen off to a strong start, she has also made the experience fun, including when she and several other leadership team members volunteered to get a pie in the face if they met their Raise the Dough goal. She represents her Campus Kitchen well and she continues to push other around her to do their best.
Kitchen of the Year Award – honors the Campus Kitchen that excels not only in safe and efficient operations, but in the many components that support operations, including community partnerships, participation in the CKP network, volunteer engagement and more.
The Campus Kitchen at Auburn University
This Campus Kitchen has expanded their meal service operations dramatically in the past year, and has added eight new community partners. At the heart of all of this inspiring growth is their student leadership team, with 30 shift leaders and a new committee structure based on outreach, public relations, nutrition education and food safety & operations. These students were able to significantly grow the amount of food coming into the kitchen to around 1,000 pounds of food per month, by pioneering new relationships with fraternities, and picking up food from dining halls twice per week instead of just once. This has allowed them to add three meal packaging shifts per week, which each package 200 meals in one hour! And their growth is not limited to just meals– their outreach committee planned 2 community events last semester, the public relations committee has advertised 3 fundraisers in 2017, the nutrition committee has held 8 nutrition education events and trained our shift leaders in food safety, and the operations committee has implemented food resourcing shifts every night of the week to freeze or thaw foods.
Volunteer of the Year Award – recognizes a student who has gone above and beyond in service to his or her Campus Kitchen.
Eric Pritt, The Campus Kitchens at Lee University and Baylor University
When our staff sat down to determine who would be our Volunteer of the Year, that phrase “infused their energy and passion into the program” brought one person to mind for everyone on the team. We have so many deserving volunteers who are dedicated to their Campus Kitchen, but what we have this year is truly rare: someone who builds community for The Campus Kitchens Project as a whole, facilitating interconnectedness among our programs spread out across the country, participating on social media, on the Center, on webinars, on trainings and panel presentations. This volunteer always brings his unique sense of humor that puts those around him at ease, tells them they’re welcome as part of the team, and that this whole volunteer thing is going to be FUN. This person started out as a student volunteer at one Campus Kitchen, but when he graduated, he still wasn’t done with CKP. He became an AmeriCorps VISTA member, serving one year with yet another Campus Kitchen, where he helped to expand their programs, operations, partnerships and food recovery efforts. He started this journey at Lee University, spent the last year at Baylor, and just when we thought we’d never be rid of him he’s off to grad school, where we can only assume he’ll start a new Campus Kitchen.