Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Campus Kitchens News

Student Leadership across the Nation

, June 30th, 2015

Campus Kitchen student leaders provide incredible services to their communities. In doing so, these students develop leadership skills that will give them the tools and experiences to become the next generation of effective leaders. The Campus Kitchens Project conducted our annual student leadership survey to gain a deeper understanding of the impact that holding a leadership role in a Campus Kitchen has on the personal and professional growth of student leaders.

Below is a brief summary of what students are saying about working in their Campus Kitchens!

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  • 100% of students say they have contributed in a valuable way to their community.
  • 67% of students agree participating in their Campus Kitchen has influenced their career path.
  • 94% of students have learned how to manage a group of people.
  • 97% of students feel more confident in their leadership abilities.
  • 91% of students say the leadership skills they have acquired will make them more likely to find a job.

Students join Campus Kitchens for a wide variety of reasons. One student began volunteering because, “I can’t be happy full when others are hungry.” Another student started a Master in Nutrition Program and chose to get involved because, “I was interested in providing opportunities for kids to have healthy meals in food insecure areas.”

Through their work in Campus Kitchens, many students developed leadership experience and concrete skills, including community partnerships, volunteer management, and fundraising.  One Campus Kitchen alum noted, “I apply the skills I have developed while volunteering with the Campus Kitchen every day as I interact with people in my community – both educating others and serving others.” Another student defined their experience as gaining skills and learning lessons “that I couldn’t in a classroom.”

Many agreed their skills and leadership development with Campus Kitchens roused a desire to bring a community focus to their careers, from law to medicine to agriculture. Before starting with Campus Kitchen, one student leader wanted to be a doctor but explains that afterwards, “I still realized that that’s what I wanted to do, but it made me realize the importance of good food for good health. Now I know that, to become a great physician, I need to address hunger as a medical issue.”

As for what keeps students coming back to volunteer with the Campus Kitchen? Many love the feeling of making a difference in their communities and having “the most empowering volunteer experience of my life.” One student continues volunteering with the Campus Kitchen because of “The opportunity to build relationships with those in my community and the transformation that I have the opportunity to witness in people’s lives.”

Stay tuned for more insights from students in the 2015 Annual Report!

Campus Kitchens AmeriCorps VISTAs present at national conference

, May 29th, 2015


The two AmeriCorps VISTAS on the national Campus Kitchens Project team — Andrea, based in the DC office, and Kelly, at Northwestern University — spent Memorial Day weekend in the nation’s capital for the New York Coalition Against Hunger Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps end-of-year conference. The conference brought together 88 AmeriCorps VISTAs working to combat food insecurity in 33 states to meet with national leaders and learn from each other’s experiences. Andrea and Kelly had the opportunity to present their work in nutrition education during the “Sharing Our Best Practices Symposium” that kicked off the weekend.

The Symposium gave VISTA members the opportunity to share their work with each other and with conference guests, including VISTA director Paul Monteiro. The VISTAs shared best practices for implementing SNAP Employment & Training programs, providing nutrition education, working with markets and gardens and developing benefits access plans. Kelly and Andrea worked with VISTAs from Inter-faith Food Shuttle in North Carolina and 18 Reasons in California to present best practices in nutrition education. They provided an overview of curriculum development; planning, implementing and evaluating nutrition education programs; working with peer educators; and making nutrition education programs accessible to SNAP participants at farmers markets.

Andrea opened the presentation with four key aspects of curriculum development based on her experience creating Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids and a forthcoming nutrition education program for older adults: researching topics and approaches as well as content, identifying key strategies, designing for adaptability and revising materials based on pilot programs.  Based on her experience planning, implementing, and evaluating both Campus Kitchens-developed curricula at Northwestern University, Kelly then highlighted the importance of collaborating with student volunteers, community partners, food service staff, dietitians and others.

As Kelly and Andrea finish their years of service in June, they will leave behind new and improved nutrition education materials that can enable Campus Kitchens to increase their impact beyond the meal. A revised version of Building Blocks for Healthy Kids, now accompanied by a teaching guide, as well as the garden-based Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids curriculum, are available at

Campus Kitchens hiring AmeriCorps members

, May 28th, 2015


Looking for that first job after graduating from college? We firmly believe that a year of service is a great first step in starting a career in any field! Check out these AmeriCorps member listings at two Campus Kitchens:

AmeriCorps VISTA – Campus Kitchen at Washington and LeeThe Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee (CKWL) is seeking candidates for an AmeriCorps*VISTA position, beginning mid-August. The VISTA will serve as the Rural Outreach Coordinator and will be responsible for mobilizing student and community volunteers in various CKWL initiatives. Responsibilities will include assessment of current rural outreach programs, expansion of programming with the Mobile Food Pantry, and development and facilitation of trainings and discussions around rural hunger for the student Leadership Team. The ideal applicant has good communication skills, ability to serve alongside college students, familiarity with the Rockbridge area, a working knowledge of Microsoft office, a driver’s license, and the ability to lift at least 25 pounds. Applicants should email a cover letter and resume to by Friday, June 19th.

AmeriCorps State/National Member – Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University: This AmeriCorps position will recruit and train student and community volunteers and leaders to provide individual and congregate meals to seniors, adults with disabilities, veterans, low income individuals and at-risk youth with the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University. Additionally, the AmeriCorps will use these meal times to provide educational and social supports in the area of nutrition for seniors and at-risk youth. The AmeriCorps member will recruit volunteers to provide a weekly meal service and will provide frequent nutrition and health education, as well as support a local gardening project that will allow seniors to have their own gardens. The term of service is 09/01/2015 – 07/15/2016. Learn more and apply online at

The 2015 Food Waste & Hunger Summit

, April 27th, 2015


Earlier this month, from April 18 to 19, more than 300 student hunger-fighters from around the country gathered at the University of Georgia for the 2015 Food Waste & Hunger Summit, a two day conference co-hosted by The Campus Kitchens Project and Food Recovery Network. The event convened student leaders who are pioneering solutions to the interrelated problems of food insecurity and food waste and gave participants a forum to learn from experts in the fields of social justice, social enterprise, public health, non-profit management and related fields in addition to the opportunity to share best practices.

The Summit began in earnest on Saturday morning with introductions to the host and partner organizations and an inspiring keynote by Doug Rauch, founder of Daily Table, a new retail market that will sell expired food and pre-made meals at discounted prices, increasing access to healthy food in under-served areas of Boston. Summit participants then had the opportunity to participate in a variety of breakout sessions led by students and professionals alike centered around hunger issues, initiatives beyond meal delivery, funding and more. Representatives from Sodexo, Bon Appetit and UGA Food Services were also on hand to discuss best practices around food recovery and relationship-building with dining service providers.

On Sunday, Dr. Caree Cotwright, an assistant professor in the UGA Department of Foods and Nutrition, kicked off the morning with an engaging plenary session on the importance of confidently following your dreams, even to the extent of building a career around them. Dr. Cotwright spoke of her experiences developing First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, and how she uses her interest in theater to educate children on health and nutrition.

Later that day, attendees were able to attend a variety of breakout sessions on building sustainable solutions to hunger and advocacy/policy issues. Throughout the weekend, participants had opportunities to network with other Summit attendees from their region and who share topical interests.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the Food Waste & Hunger Summit – the event was a huge success thanks to your support and enthusiasm! This is what two of our participating students had to say:

Seeing [that] I am part…of a national movement was invaluable.

It’s hard to say what the best part was, because it was all so good. The sessions I attended were all excellent, inspiring and thought provoking. I also had the opportunity to talk to several of the attendees and presenters and hope to meet with them in the future to discuss new ideas.

Thanks also to our funders who made this unique event possible: AARP Foundation, CoBank, Sodexo Foundation, ELCA World Hunger Program and Ameriprise Financial. We were thrilled to re-connect with a variety of our friends and partners in the fight against food waste and hunger, including Food Recovery Network, Food Day, Real Food Challenge, Swipes for the Homeless, Society of St. Andrew, HungerU and No More Empty Pots, and we look forward to collaborating in the future!

See more pictures from the event on our Flickr page.

45 strong: The Campus Kitchens Project comes to University of Wisconsin-Madison

, April 23rd, 2015

Back in the fall, the University of Wisconsin-Madison participated in our launch grant video competition and won $5,000 to start a Campus Kitchen that will serve older adults in their community. Since then, a core group of student leaders has been working with dining services, community organizations and other students to finalize their efforts. Today, all of that planning has come to a finish with the launch of the Campus Kitchen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

The Campus Kitchen at UW-Madison (CKUWM) is our 45th Campus Kitchen, third  in the University of Wisconsin system and fourth in the state. CKUWM will recover food from on-campus dining halls with support from the university’s self-run dining services. Students with the Campus Kitchen will prepare meals in the St. Francis House Episcopal Church kitchen for three different local agencies. The Campus Kitchen at UW-Madison will serve a Thursday evening meal for The Goodman Community Center in Madison, a local food pantry that serves a daily meal to those who shop. Thursday was the one day the Center was unable to serve food before its partnership with the Campus Kitchen at UW-Madison. In addition, the Campus Kitchen will partner with the Catholic Charities Adult Day Center in the fall, where they will likely provide a breakfast to area older adults who spend the day at the center.

Finally, the Campus Kitchen has already begun supporting an on-campus meal for the FASTrack program. The program assists economically disadvantaged Wisconsin undergraduates in paying for college through a combination of grants, work and small loans, and ensures that a student’s financial need will be met each year for four years. The students in this program meet once a month, and CKUWM will provide dinner for that meeting.

University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of five schools that participated in the older adult-focused Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by AARP Foundation in mid-October. 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, UW-Madison’s submission received more than 2,400 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

To learn more about our upcoming $5,000 launch grant opportunities, please visit our “grant opportunities” page.

2015 Campus Kitchen award winners

, April 21st, 2015


When the academic year comes to a close, we enjoy taking an opportunity to recognize outstanding Campus Kitchens and their leaders for their work to end hunger in their communities. During the 2015 Food Waste & Hunger Summit this past weekend, Campus Kitchens from around the country gathered to celebrate their accomplishments over the past year. On Saturday evening, we gathered the network to present eight individuals and Campus Kitchens with awards acknowledging their commitment to fighting hunger and dedication to the Campus Kitchen network.

Nopalitos Award – Patty Tobin, the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga College High School
Growing the Movement Award – the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University
Harvester Award – Brad LaChapell and Christina Sarmiento, the Campus Kitchen at Lee University
Going Beyond the Meal Award – the Campus Kitchen at Augsburg College
Ingrid Easton Student Visionary Award – Leebo Tyler, the Campus Kitchen at Troy University
Community Impact Award – the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University
Volunteer of the Year Award – Paige Ottmar, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University
Kitchen of the Year Award – the Campus Kitchen at Gettysburg College (more…)

The Campus Kitchens Project comes to Walsh University

, April 15th, 2015

In fall 2014, Walsh University president Richard Jusseaume signed the Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) agreement, which commits the university to contribute to building food security networks by developing academic engagement and empowering students to advocate and strategically act to end hunger. Today, we’re thrilled to announce one way Walsh University is living up to that commitment: by launching a Campus Kitchen.

The Campus Kitchen at Walsh University is our 44th Campus Kitchen and the second in the state of Ohio. Student volunteers will recover food that would otherwise go to waste from Sodexo-run Walsh Dining Services, and will use that food to create healthy, balanced meals for a local community partner, Refuge of Hope. In fact, the Campus Kitchen will provide a minimum of 25 pounds of food per week to Refuge of Hope which provides meals, emergency shelter and transition to independence for homeless men.

Walsh University is one of five schools that participated in our older adult-focused Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by AARP Foundation back in October 2014. 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, Walsh University’s submission received more than 1,900 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

CKWU will serve older adults ages 50-59, many of whom are ineligible for other senior-focused services because they do not meet those age requirements. Nearly 9 million older Americans are at risk of hunger, a staggering 79 percent increase over the last 10 years. In Ohio, more than 8 percent of seniors do not know from where their next meal will come.

In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 823,549 pounds of food and served 293,963 meals to 12,006 clients. We’re thrilled to welcome the students at Walsh University 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.

We’re hiring: 3 AmeriCorps VISTAs in 3 communities

, March 27th, 2015

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If you’re passionate about reducing food insecurity, eliminating food waste, tackling food deserts or any other food/hunger-related issue, we’ve got jobs for you! These positions are with a Campus Kitchen or with The Campus Kitchens Project national office. Click the title of each position to learn more and to find the application.

Summer Associate VISTA - Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (due April 10)
Summer Associate VISTA - Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston(due April 10)
Summer Associate VISTA - Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University (due April 10)


Summer Associate VISTA – Northwestern University
The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) seeks a Summer Associate VISTA AmeriCorps member to support the CKNU Coordinator in running summer operations. Each summer, CKNU ramps up its summer operations to provide healthy meals and snacks to low-income children and youth in the greater Chicago area who typically receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch during the school year, but would be at risk of missing out on those meals entirely in the summer months. There will be two VISTA members working at CKNU during the summer months, so the position is a great opportunity for those who enjoy working as part of a team and gaining experience in direct service. This full-time position will begin on Tuesday, May 26 and end on Monday, August 3. See the full job description and learn how to apply.

Summer Associate VISTA – UMass Boston
The Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston (CKUMB), in partnership with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), seeks a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate to assist with the maintenance, development, and expansion of its current program operations. CKUMB regularly provides well-balanced, family-style meals and healthy snacks to low-income youth in Boston who generally receive free and reduced school meals during the school year. Nutrition education programming and community gardening opportunities are also provided to these youth, under supervision of the Summer Associate. Finally, the VISTA will promote and assist with the preservation and growth of CKUMB’s SNAP Outreach Program for clients of varied ages. This will include tabling, outreach events, eligibility screenings, and application assistance, and follow-up. This full-time position will begin on Tuesday, May 26 and end on Monday, August 3. See the full job description and learn how to apply.

Summer Associate VISTA – Saint Louis University
The Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University (CKSLU), in partnership with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, is seeking a full-time VISTA member for the summer to assist the coordinator and other staff with the daily operations of running a meals program—ensuring access to healthy, delicious meals for clients in need. Much of the job will be working with young volunteers from across the country, who come each summer on service trips to the Saint Louis area and volunteer with our agency. In addition to summer operations and volunteer leadership, the NYCCAH member will assist in food recovery and outreach to client agencies and individual clients. Finally, the NYCCAH member will assist in the continuation and growth of SNAP Outreach program for clients of all ages which will include tabling, outreach events, eligibility screenings, and application assistance and follow-up. This full-time position will begin on Tuesday, May 26 and end on Monday, August 3. See the full job description and learn how to apply.

The Campus Kitchens Project releases garden-based nutrition education curriculum

, March 25th, 2015

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The Campus Kitchens Project, in partnership with Sodexo Foundation, is proud to release “Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids,” a garden-based nutrition education curriculum which complements our classroom-based curriculum “Building Blocks for Healthy Kids”. “Sowing Seeds” inspires kids to make healthy choices by helping them discover where their food comes from and explore the food system from seed to plate. While it was designed for older elementary students, it can be adapted for younger or older audiences.

Developing this curriculum was my first major project as an AmeriCorps VISTA with The Campus Kitchens Project, and I was grateful for the opportunity to learn from innovative gardening and nutrition programs at several of our affiliates, including the Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston, the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University, the Campus Kitchen at Baylor University and the Campus Kitchen at Augsburg College. “Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids” is based on best practices from these schools as well as USDA dietary guidelines and other national resources. The six lessons are accompanied by a teaching guide and a garden guide, which were also informed by my own experiences starting a campus garden and working with various garden education nonprofits before my time with The Campus Kitchens Project.

Each of the six lessons in the curriculum includes an integrated discussion of gardening and nutrition topics and a variety of additional resources. We suggest both garden and classroom-based activities related to the lesson topic, as well as a thematic snack and a take-home recipe for students to try with their families. Family newsletters for each lesson provide an opportunity to reinforce the lesson concepts at home and try fun new snacks or activities. While the curriculum provides nutrition information to empower students to make healthier choices, elements like the newsletters and lessons focused on the food environment and food traditions recognize that healthy eating and food access are issues that students can address on a community level as well. The teaching guide not only provides additional activity and resource suggestions, but also emphasizes core teaching principles like experiential learning and engaging with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Kelly Koss, an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU), led a pilot program of this curriculum last fall along with the Sodexo district dietitian. In addition to providing snacks in class, CKNU was able to send students home with the groceries needed to make each lesson’s suggested recipe thanks to Sodexo’s support. 85 percent of students in the pilot program increased their knowledge about lesson topics, and almost 70 percent reported preparing recipes and snacks from the curriculum at home with their families. Kelly’s feedback and data from student evaluations was invaluable in shaping revisions to the curriculum and evaluation system.

We hope that learning where food comes from and how to grow it can make kids lifelong healthy food advocates, but it’s crucial that we measure the short-term outcomes of our programs to see how students’ understanding and behavior is influenced by the curriculum. “Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids” comes with a pre-test, post-test and guide to evaluating your program. While we welcome adaptations of the lessons, activities, recipes and newsletters to suit your particular community, we hope that anyone who uses the core elements of “Sowing Seeds” will send their outcome evaluations to We look forward to hearing how you put this curriculum to use!

The first Campus Kitchen in California launches at Sacred Heart Prep

, March 22nd, 2015

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded to our 26th state by welcoming Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton, California, to The Campus Kitchens Project network!

The Campus Kitchen at Sacred Heart Prep is our 43rd Campus Kitchen and the third high school to bring our program to their campus. Student volunteers will recover food that would otherwise go to waste from a nearby Draeger’s Market and Sacred Heart’s 10,000 square foot organic campus garden. The Campus Kitchen will also have great support from their campus food service provider, Epicurean, whose chefs will work side-by-side in the kitchen with students to create healthy balanced meals for their clients. At first, Sacred Heart Prep will provide community-style meals for 10 local families whose children are enrolled in a local tutoring program, which will provide enough food to each family to last them a few days at a time.

To make this happen, students at Sacred Heart Prep utilized our online Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides a step-by-step process for bringing a Campus Kitchen to any 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!

In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 823,549 pounds of food and served 293,963 meals to 12,006 clients. We’re thrilled to welcome the students at Sacred Heart Prep 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.

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