About The Campus Kitchens Project
What is a Campus Kitchen?
We develop student-run kitchens that keep food from going to waste, and turn it into nutritious meals for those who are struggling with food insecurity. In the process, we are developing student leaders and empowering them to create programs that open pathways between college and community. It’s student-powered hunger relief.
Each Campus Kitchen has a few things in common, including a mission to recycle food, provide meals, educate and engage with the community, and provide leadership opportunities for students. The Campus Kitchen model is based on resources available in any community, and each school tailors its Campus Kitchen to the specific needs of the campus and community using the following four components:
- Food recovery: Campus Kitchen volunteers pick up unused, quality food from campus dining providers, as well as from local grocery stores, food banks, farms and farmers’ markets.
- Meal preparation: Using donated kitchen space during off hours, volunteers utilize the food donations to prepare balanced and nourishing meals.
- Meal delivery: Volunteers deliver prepared meals to organizations as well as to low-income families and individuals.
- Empowerment and education: Each Campus Kitchen engages in empowering education programs like culinary job training for unemployed or underemployed adults, healthy cooking classes for families and nutrition education for kids.
The Bigger Picture
We strengthen communities. Campus Kitchen volunteers are also tutors, mentors and companions; they teach nutrition education and culinary job training classes, cultivate community gardens and attempt to meet the unique needs of each community any way they can. It can be difficult to quantify the value of a hot meal or a casual conversation, but to consider the true impact of a Campus Kitchen on the community is to understand what makes a community strong: vibrant reciprocal partnerships, active learners and committed leaders.
We connect service and learning. Students involved with CKP learn about social services, the nonprofit sector and issues surrounding hunger all while gaining tangible skills that will develop them professionally as well as personally. Not only does CKP increase hunger awareness on campus, but it challenges leaders to think of new ways to address social issues.
We train leaders of the future. Volunteering at a Campus Kitchen teaches our leaders hands on lessons about the working world. Our national network hosts regular discussions where we rethink how we analyze hunger. Our yearly leadership conference brings together nonprofit leaders of the future with their peers from all over the country, and provides them with an opportunity to learn from some of the greatest nonprofit leaders of today. With students leading the way, who knows what great innovations will be next?