Student-Powered Hunger Relief

CKP Updates

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

summer2014

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

food hub header

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.

Bike Against Hunger visits Campus Kitchen at Northwestern

, August 18th, 2014

Ben-and-Heather-aquarium-cropped-for-website-1024x565

At The Campus Kitchens Project, we’re acutely aware of a huge paradox that exists in the United States: while 40 percent of the food produced in this country is never consumed, 1 in 6 Americans do not know where their next meal will come from. This conundrum is what motivates our student leaders to rescue food that would have otherwise gone to waste and use it to create healthy meals for hungry people. This summer, another food waste-fighting organization is raising awareness of this issue in a whole new way: they are biking across America.

Back in April, we had the pleasure of meeting Benjamin Rasmus of Rotary First Harvest (RFH) at our first-ever Food Waste & Hunger Summit. RFH works with farmers, truckers, volunteers and others to bring valuable skills and resources into hunger relief efforts in communities across Washington state.  This summer, Benjamin kicked off Bike Against Hunger, a new initiative aimed at raising awareness of food waste and hunger in the United States. And just last week, on Monday afternoon, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) had the pleasure of hosting him as he stopped in Evanston, Ill.

All along his journey across America, Benjamin has been stopping by community organizations to witness their efforts to tackle food waste and hunger. At CKNU, Benjamin wanted to learn more about our scope of operations, and see exactly how we create more than 4,800 meals each month during the summer. So he pitched in, helping to build 50 individual meals consisting of tilapia, couscous and salad. And in return, CKNU volunteers and student leaders learned more about his adventure and just how their work fits into what’s being done across the country.

Thanks so much for making a pit stop at CKNU, Benjamin! We are honored to support your inspiring 10 week, 3,500 mile bike ride to raise national awareness for an issue so close to our hearts. Can’t wait to welcome you to Washington, DC next week!

photo from Bike Against Hunger website

Food as a tool: Campus Kitchen at Marquette supports local nonprofit

, July 17th, 2014

donna_header_ckmy

Before she had ever heard of the Campus Kitchen at Marquette University, Donna Hietpas was up at 4:30 every morning, preparing food for the 12-15 women her nonprofit serves on any given day. Needless to say, the lack of sleep and being stretched so thin did not allow Donna the capacity to evaluate how her nonprofit could do more or work better. But now that the Campus Kitchen at Marquette (CKMU) has stepped in to help, Donna is getting a real night’s sleep, giving her the time and energy she needs to deepen relationships with her clients and thoughtfully evaluate her nonprofit’s work.

Donna is the director of Sister’s Program, a program of Milwaukee’s Benedict Center that reaches out to help women involved in prostitution and illegal drugs before they are arrested and caught up in the criminal justice system. While she has assistance from college interns and women who have gone through the program, Donna essentially runs Sister’s Program by herself. Just a few weeks ago, one of her interns asked Donna if she had ever heard of CKMU. Donna had not, and the student decided to make the connection, bringing a whole new definition to “student-powered hunger relief.” The student brought Amanda Parrell Kaczmarek, our staff coordinator of the Campus Kitchen at Marquette, over to Sister’s Program to meet Donna and to discuss ways they could partner together.

For just over a month now, CKMU has been whipping up healthy meals from food that would  have otherwise gone to waste for the Sister’s Program’s clients. They deliver meals twice a week, supplying enough food to feed every woman who walks through the doors to seek programs or services. The women are now eating yogurt and salads from a farmers market instead of consuming unhealthy, salty packaged goods. They are exposed to a richer variety of foods and actually have input into what they eat each day, giving them more ability to take charge of their own nutrition.

But perhaps more importantly, Donna now has the time she wants to step away from her clients and evaluate, research, think and plan, doing the things that will ultimately strengthen her program and the services it provides. Amanda can already see the difference:

She is a truly awesome person, and I am so happy that we are able to serve her program.  Every time we see her, she seems to get lighter and more energized.  And the women that she works with have been really pleased with the food. - Amanda Parrell Kaczmarek, CKMU coordinator

With this new partnership, students with the Campus Kitchen at Marquette are not only tackling food waste and hunger: they are stepping up to enhance another nonprofit’s ability to make a real difference in the lives of Milwaukee women.

Campus Kitchen at UDM strengthens summer meal operations

, July 3rd, 2014

ckudm

The Campus Kitchen at the University of Detroit Mercy (CKUDM) serves the same 36 clients every weekend. During the academic year, CKUDM relies on a steady stream of student volunteers to cook the would-be-wasted food donated by Sodexo, their dining service provider. But when school is out, so are the student volunteers – and so is the dining hall food. This summer, with support from Ameriprise Financial, the dedicated student leaders of CKUDM are strengthening their volunteer and food recovery efforts so their clients still receive the meals they need every weekend.

Recruiting student volunteers at UDM during the summer months is tricky, as many students have gone back home, and those who are still in town are working or taking summer classes. This summer, the student leaders of CKUDM have made a concerted effort to seek out volunteers from other organizations and institutions to support their operations. CKUDM has worked with a church across the street from campus to educate its members on their mission and encourage them to volunteer in the kitchen. In addition, many faculty and staff members volunteer over the summer – not only from UDM, but also from other area colleges. In fact, these efforts have been so successful, CKUDM recruits an average of three new volunteers every weekend.

And then there’s the matter of recovering food when dining halls go dark. In the past, CKUDM has spent valuable resources purchasing food so their meal operations wouldn’t cease. But at the beginning of this summer, CKUDM’s student leaders officially kicked off a new food donation partnership with the College for Creative Studies. The college donates fresh food at least once a week to the Campus Kitchen, significantly reducing the amount of food CKUDM must purchase during the summer to maintain their weekly meal operations.

We’re proud of the commitment these student leaders have shown to the mission and work of their Campus Kitchen. If you’re in Detroit this summer, you can get involved with their efforts to serve 36 clients each week by volunteering.

Three Campus Kitchens, 1,070 pounds of produce

, June 17th, 2014

clif bar update

Fresh fruits and vegetables are critical for creating healthy meals for clients, though they are not always abundant in a Campus Kitchen. This year, thanks to the generous support of Clif Bar Family Foundation, three of our Campus Kitchens will be able to expand their gardening initiatives and harvest more produce than they did last year. By the time gardening season wraps up in the fall, the Campus Kitchens at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Gonzaga University and Marquette University will have harvested more than 1,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to incorporate into nutritious, balanced meals.

But that’s not the only product of these gardens: they’re also providing a hands-on learning environment for communities and nutrition education classes.

In Boston, students from the Dever-McCormack School have spent seven weeks learning about compost, the life cycle of plants, what plants need to grow, garden “friends and foes” and more in the Campus Kitchen at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s community garden. To wrap up their time learning in the garden, the students will get to create and eat salads full of the nutritious vegetables they’ve grown with their own hands.

In Spokane, the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University (CKGU) is growing no fewer than 16 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables for their clients. But soon, some of their clients will be able to grow their own produce: residents at the O’Malley Senior Center have access to a few barrel gardens in their courtyard, but the demand is far greater than the supply. This summer, CKGU will build several raised garden beds – ensuring they are accessible to clients in wheelchairs – for these older adults to plant in next spring.

In Milwaukee, the Campus Kitchen at Marquette University has taken on responsibility for ensuring the Marquette Community Garden is fully planted and well maintained all summer long. They’re partnering with other students and groups who also use their food-growing know-how to help others. One of those groups is the Physicians Assistants Program, whose students do clinical work with individuals at high risk of food insecurity. The group uses the skills they are learning in the garden to teach patients about nutrient-dense foods and how they could grow for themselves.

While these three Campus Kitchens are making an impact in their individual communities, they are also collaborating and sharing best practices. This summer, the Campus Kitchens at UMass Boston and Gonzaga will put their heads together to create a garden education curriculum (much like our existing nutrition education curriculum), using lessons and activities with proven success in their own gardens. When the curriculum is finished, all of our Campus Kitchens – not to mention any garden educator – will be able to use it to teach children how to grow the food their bodies need to thrive.

Thank you, Clif Bar Family Foundation, for investing in these growing gardens. We can’t wait to see just how much they will produce this summer – both in pounds and in knowledge.

St. Lawrence University student helps launch sustainability group

, June 5th, 2014

sean

Sean Morrisey just wrapped up his sophomore year at St. Lawrence University where he’s majoring in environmental science and English. In addition to being a full-time student, Sean is also on the leadership team for the Campus Kitchen at St. Lawrence University. But that’s not the only leadership position Sean has taken on during his time in college: he recently helped launch the Canton Sustainability Committee, a group of students and community members interested in addressing issues related to food and agriculture, transportation, energy and housing.

Read more about Sean’s work with the Canton Sustainability Committee on the St. Lawrence University website.

We are always thrilled when students involved in a Campus Kitchen take on additional leadership roles in – and outside of – school. This year, 98 percent of our student leaders said they felt more confident in their leadership abilities because of their experience with a Campus Kitchen. That same survey showed that 95 percent of students felt the leadership abilities they developed would make them more likely to find a job post-graduation.

Our leadership development efforts don’t stop there. We work to empower the next generation of leaders to implement innovative models for combating hunger, developing food systems and helping communities help themselves – while they are in school and after. 92 percent of the student leaders we surveyed said they were more likely to become involved in efforts to address food insecurity in their communities after graduation.

In the 2013-2014 academic year, our Campus Kitchens are on track to recover thousands more pounds of food and serve hundreds more meals than in the previous year. But perhaps more importantly, the students leading these efforts are more able to reach into their communities and make a lasting difference.

CKP Twitter CKP Facebook Donate Now