The Bigger Picture
Since 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) has served more than 2 million balanced, nutritious meals – but that is just the beginning. 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. As Campus Kitchen volunteers cook, teach, and serve, the old divisions between ‘town and gown’ fall away. The people we serve – single mothers and home-bound seniors, disadvantaged youth and survivors of domestic violence, to name a few – experience our passion and our commitment. Students learn what it means to be a part of a community and discover they can make change.
Connect Service and Learning
The Campus Kitchens Project provides a unique opportunity not only to serve the community need but provides also meaningful opportunities for student empowerment. 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. By building a program from the ground up, students learn how nonprofit programs start and operate. They gain real world experience that translates to success in job interviews and on resumes. CKP creates opportunities to connect academics directly to service. Students are presented with a new way to view their course material and engage in service in ways never before imagined!
Train Leaders of the Future
CKP strives to make volunteer experiences more than just direct service. Any student group can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or clean up a street, but these experiences won’t prepare students for the complexity of the nonprofit sector. 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. Student leaders are being called to be the voice of service in their communities now. Your Campus Kitchen has the freedom to create new Beyond Meals Initiatives directly impacting the needs of your community. With students leading the way, who knows what great innovations will be next?