Student-Powered Hunger Relief

CKP Updates

Welcoming Troy University to the Campus Kitchens network

, October 30th, 2014


After months of planning, lots of emails and phone calls, and endless enthusiasm, we are thrilled to welcome Troy University to The Campus Kitchens Project network!

The Campus Kitchen at Troy University (CKTroy) is our 40th Campus Kitchen and the second to open in the state of Alabama. They will conduct cooking shifts at Trojan Dining, the main dining hall on campus, and will initially recover food from on-campus dining halls – with support from Sodexo-run Troy University Dining Services. This food will then be used to create nutritious meals for children participating in the Pike County Head Start program. The Campus Kitchen is sponsored by Troy’s Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

Matt, our expansion and partnerships manager, is spending half of this week in Troy 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. This afternoon, student leaders and volunteers will conduct the Campus Kitchen’s first cooking shift and prepare 50 meals for their new clients.

To make this happen, students and staff at Troy University utilized our online Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides a step-by-step process for bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school. Entire planning teams can have access to their school’s Planner, which shows all of the tasks necessary to start a Campus Kitchen. Each task can be assigned to an individual and then checked off a list when it’s complete!

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

Healthy eating and food group jeopardy at the Food Day Harvest Festival

, October 28th, 2014

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Andrea Lindsay is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the NYCCAH Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps serving at The Campus Kitchens Project for one year.

While Campus Kitchens around the country were celebrating Food Day all last week, The Campus Kitchens Project national office in DC had the opportunity to participate in the Food Day Harvest Festival hosted by the National Geographic Museum on October 25. This free event featured tastings, chef demos, a farmers market, hands-on activities and more.

With the help of two wonderful volunteers, our staff shared the food group jeopardy game from our Building Blocks for Healthy Kids nutrition education curriculum with visitors young and old. The prize for participation? Fruit and veggie face paint! We also used our table to share resources for kids, parents and teachers—from coloring pages to recipes and family activities—to support the Food Day priority of promoting healthier diets for all.

We were proud to be in the same room as many local and national partners who are finding and sharing innovative ways to support community health and wellness from the ground up. From high school students demonstrating the difference between white and whole-wheat bread to the kid who answered all of our Jeopardy questions and then proposed some of his own, it was clear that everyone has something to contribute to the conversation about healthy eating. A grandmother took home MyPlate coloring pages for her grandchildren. Teachers told us about their school garden programs and collected recipes to try with their students. A young girl having her face painted specified that she liked the curved kind of eggplant.

These types of interactions are what make us truly excited about the conversations that Food Day and our “beyond the meal” programs promote. When we share information about healthy eating—whether at our national office or at Campus Kitchens around the country—we often find that we learn just as much as we teach. Food Day and the local partners who made the Harvest Festival such a success help us to show that improving our food system starts with empowering individuals to share their knowledge and skills with a broader community. Whether we’re fighting hunger by using food that would otherwise have gone to waste or combating obesity by helping kids to make healthy choices, we can find solutions to some of our greatest problems by utilizing resources that already exist in our communities.

Food Day 2014, Campus Kitchen style

, October 27th, 2014

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Last Thursday, Campus Kitchens across the country held a variety of events and activities in honor of Food Day, an annual nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. The events looked different on each campus, but their purpose was the same: to educate other students on food issues and on how Campus Kitchens are addressing those issues.

Here are just a few of the events that took place:

Finally, here in DC, our national office participated in the Harvest Festival, DC’s celebration of Food Day 2014. Stay tuned to learn more about that event later this week!

We’re proud to call Food Day one of our great partners in our work to improve our food system. And at the end of the day, advocating for sustainable food systems and raising awareness for hunger and food waste is just one way our Campus Kitchens are going beyond the meal to make an impact in their communities.

Meet our future Campus Kitchens

, October 21st, 2014

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From October 14 to October 21, five schools rallied thousands of votes from their students, alumni, staff and supporters to compete for a start-up grant to bring our program to their campus. The votes are in, and we are excited to announce the five winners of our latest launch grant video competition:

  1. University of Kentucky –  3,434 votes
  2. University of Wisconsin-Madison -  2,452 votes
  3. Walsh University -  1,970 votes

These three schools have each won a $5,000 grant sponsored by AARP Foundation to start their own Campus Kitchen by spring 2015. Five schools in all qualified for this competition through our new Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides step-by-step guidance to any group interested in bringing our program to their campus. After completing several steps in the planner, each competing school submitted a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen. Then, over the past 7 days, the competitors mobilized their supporters to vote for their videos once per day per device.

A big thanks to those who voted, and congratulations to our winners!

Want to join our hunger-fighting movement? Sign up for your own Campus Kitchen Planner, and check out our upcoming grant opportunities.

Join the MOOvement

, September 22nd, 2014

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We need you to join the MOOvement as we expand our innovative hunger-fighting program to college campuses across the country.

In the last academic year, 36 Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 939,034 pounds of food and served 271,967 meals to 8,509 clients. Just imagine how we could fight food waste and hunger in the United States if our network included 100 schools.

We need your support to grow our national network and increase our impact in communities across the country. If we receive support from you and 149 other donors by Sunday, September 28, our friends at National Dairy Council will add $5,000 to your contributions.

Will you get us one step closer to releasing $5,000 from National Dairy Council by donating $10, $20 or $36 today?

Thank you for your support, and stay tuned all week for stories of other people who’ve decided to #jointheMOOvement.

Saint Peter’s University: the 39th Campus Kitchen

, September 18th, 2014

Nine months ago, students and staff at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J., participated in our first-ever launch grant video competition and won $5,000 to start a Campus Kitchen. Since then, they’ve been making improvements to their kitchen, developing partnerships with area nonprofits and recruiting others to volunteer. This afternoon, the Campus Kitchen at Saint Peter’s University officially opens.

The Campus Kitchen at Saint Peter’s (CKSPU) is our 39th Campus Kitchen and the second to open in the state of New Jersey. They will operate out of the kitchen in St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church, and will initially recover food from on-campus dining halls – with support from Sodexo-run Saint Peter’s University Dining Services – and several local restaurants. This food will then be used to create nutritious meals for families and children who are also clients of the United Way and Hudson County Self-help Center. The Campus Kitchen is sponsored by Saint Peter’s Campus Ministry.

Saint Peter’s is one of seven universities that participated in the Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation earlier this year. A group of campus representatives created a video (watch it at the top of this post) 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, Saint Peter’s submission received more than 5,000 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

Matt, our expansion and partnerships manager, is spending a couple of days in Jersey City 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. This afternoon, student leaders and volunteers will conduct the Campus Kitchen’s first cooking shift and prepare 50 meals for their new clients.

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school and to qualify for our next $5,000 grant opportunity, visit our Campus Kitchen planner.

74,000 summer meals

, September 11th, 2014

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It’s probably fair to say most college students packed their bags in May and left campus for the summer, heading home or off on a summer adventure. But this summer, student leaders from 26 Campus Kitchens – almost three quarters of our current schools – did not. Instead, they stayed at school, making sure their Campus Kitchens were still recovering food, cooking healthy meals and delivering to their clients.

From May to August, nearly 3,400 volunteers served more than 13,000 hours, rescuing 201,000 pounds of food, which was then used to create almost 74,000 meals. These meals were then served to almost 9,000 clients at 101 partner agencies.

Not only did our Campus Kitchens work hard to provide the meals their clients need, they continued to go beyond the meal to address the root causes of hunger in their communities. Student leaders at the Campus Kitchen at East Carolina University developed a nutrition education curriculum customized for students at two area Boys and Girls Club locations, teaching 120 elementary-aged children the importance of healthy eating. A student with the Campus Kitchen at St. Lawrence University launched a sustainability group to facilitate conversations on food, transportation and energy among students and community members alike. And the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University hosted two fellow food waste fighters from Rotary First Harvest in Seattle who biked across America to raise awareness of food waste and hunger in the United States.

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. If you’d like to join them in the kitchen, check out current volunteer opportunities by visiting our “locations” page.

The Campus Kitchens Project comes to SIUE

, September 9th, 2014

Back in January, students and staff at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville joined forces to create a three minute video that detailed hunger and poverty in their community, and won $5,000 to start a Campus Kitchen. Since then, they’ve been coordinating with a local farm, creating partnerships with other community organizations and recruiting excited volunteers. Today, the Campus Kitchen at SIUE officially opens.

The Campus Kitchen at SIUE (CKSIUE) is our 38th Campus Kitchen, the second to open in the state of Illinois and our third Campus Kitchen in the greater St. Louis area. They will operate out of the catering kitchen in the SIUE Fitness Center and initially recover about 100 pounds of fresh produce each week from La Vista CSA Farm in nearby Godfrey, Ill. This food will then be used to create nutritious meals for clients in the St. Louis metro east area. CKSUE will also partner with the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center to provide healthy, balanced meals for the children in the center’s after school programs. The Campus Kitchen is sponsored by the Kimmel Student Involvement Center.

SIUE is one of seven universities that participated in the Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation earlier this year. A group of campus representatives created a video (watch it at the top of this post) 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, SIUE’s submission received more than 10,000 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

Jenny, coordinator of the Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University, is spending a couple of days in Edwardsville sharing best practices with the student leaders who will be running the Campus Kitchen and meeting with partners on and off campus.

Learn more about our upcoming $5,000 launch grant opportunities here.

Welcoming IUPUI, the 37th Campus Kitchen

, September 5th, 2014

Back in January, students and staff at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) participated in our first-ever launch grant video competition and won $5,000 to start a Campus Kitchen. Since then, they’ve been coordinating with dining services, creating partnerships with other community organizations and recruiting excited volunteers. This afternoon, the Campus Kitchen at IUPUI officially opens.

The Campus Kitchen at IUPUI (CKIUPUI) is our 37th Campus Kitchen and the first to open in the state of Indiana. They will operate out of the kitchen in the IUPUI Campus Center and initially recover food that would have otherwise gone to waste from Chartwells-run IUPUI Food Service. This food will then be used to create nutritious meals for clients in the Indianapolis community. CKIUPUI will also partner with Wheeler Mission Ministries, an organization that provides programs and services for the homeless and those in need. The Campus Kitchen is sponsored by the IUPUI Office of Sustainability.

IUPUI is one of seven universities that participated in the Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation earlier this year. A group of campus representatives created a video (watch it at the top of this post) 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, IUPUI’s submission received more than 10,000 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

Matt, our expansion and partnerships manager, is spending a couple of days in Indianapolis sharing best practices with the student leaders who will be running the Campus Kitchen. This evening, their official launch event will take place at the Campus Center, where student leaders and volunteers will conduct their first cooking shift and prepare meals for Wheeler Mission Ministries.

Read more about the addition of the Campus Kitchen at IUPUI to our growing network in this press release.

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school and to qualify for our next $5,000 grant opportunity, visit our Campus Kitchen planner.

Campus Kitchen at UVA partners with Local Food Hub of Charlottesville

, August 22nd, 2014

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by Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project

We know that hunger doesn’t take a summer break when our student volunteers are away from campus. This year, the Campus Kitchen at the University of Virginia (CKUVA) made an incredible leap: for the first time ever, they made sure the meals and friendly faces didn’t stop coming around to those in need during the summer.

It’s a challenge and a great opportunity. Summer is when most of our student volunteers are away from campus, but it’s also a time of need in the community. For instance, local kids who get free lunch at school are overwhelmingly at risk in the summer of not getting those meals at all. And with the right partnerships, a Campus Kitchen is poised to be a perfect solution to this issue, especially in a place like Charlottesville, where there is an incredible abundance of fresh local produce in the summer months.

As the director of The Campus Kitchens Project, I often wish I had the opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen at all of our locations nationwide, menu planning and chopping veggies and delivering meals alongside our volunteers. So this summer, I spent five weeks shadowing and volunteering with CKUVA as they achieved their goal of continuing their meal service over the summer for the very first time. This year, our national office worked with Ameriprise Financial to ensure that we could give a grant to three Campus Kitchens working toward this goal, and I was excited to see it in action.

CKUVA is a leader within the network when it comes to developing partnerships that enable them to provide scratch-cooked nutritious meals using fresh local produce.  Each week on Friday, they visit the Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, volunteer and take home food that is past its selling point but still nutritious to use in client meals. I looked forward to this volunteer shift every week, and to the spontaneous meal planning that happened on the drive back with the mystery assortment of fruits and veggies.

One of our big goals this year is to create food access for those in need. With students able to commit some of that extra time towards preparation, we see Virginia-grown food ending up in the hands and stomachs of those who need it…In short, it makes sense to partner with Campus Kitchen because of the shared benefits–food gets to those in need, students learn about systems that reinforce the local economy, and we have valuable help with day-to-day activities each week. - Will Clark, Local Food Hub

The Local Food Hub is an innovator in its own right, and part of a growing Food Hub movement that also includes our very own DC Central Kitchen. According to the National Good Food Network, “a regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”

CKUVA is the first to partner with its regional Food Hub, but we know they won’t be the only one as this movement grows nationwide. We hope that as more Campus Kitchens turn toward incorporating seasonal, local produce in their meals, partnerships like these will make it easy, educational and fun for students to stick around and keep on cooking over the summer months.

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