At the Campus Kitchen at Atlantic City (CKAtlC), college and high school students work side by side to prepare up to 700 meals each week for their clients. As of this week, they have some new companions in the kitchen: Chefs With a Mission.
Chefs With a Mission is a group of Atlantic City-area chefs and others who work together to improve the quality and quantity of food served to poor and homeless people in the United States. After volunteering with area homeless shelters, the founders of Chefs With a Mission saw a critical need to increase the nutritional value of meals being served and created their group to tackle the issue.
CKAtlC has always focused on fresh food and engaging professionals in the kitchen, through their longstanding partnership with the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College. Now, Chefs With a Mission provides a host of chefs to work with CKAtlC students in small groups, which allows for more in-depth culinary lessons and efficient shifts.
Not only do the chefs work with students to cook healthy meals, they participate in food procurement as well. Each Monday morning, CKAtlC students pick up the fresh ingredients they will use to create meals that evening from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The professional chefs come along to assist the students in their choices and plan meals as they go. By that evening, the chefs already know what they will make with the ingredients they have to work with, and everyone gets cooking.
By partnering with Chefs With a Mission, the students with CKAtlC are having a greater – healthier – impact on their community.
Read more about the new partnership between CKAtlC and Chefs With a Mission in this recent Press of Atlantic City article.
While college students across the country packed their bags in May and headed home for summer break, students from 24 Campus Kitchens stayed put, enabling operations in their kitchens to continue throughout the summer months. And the impact they had is astounding.
In June, July and August alone, nearly 2,500 volunteers served more than 10,000 hours, rescuing nearly 163,000 pounds of food, with which they created almost 40,000 meals. These meals were then served to more than 5,000 clients at 250 partner agencies.
Not only did our Campus Kitchens feed an incredible number of people, they continued to go beyond the meal to address the root causes of hunger in their communities. Fifteen new partnerships were developed, which led to innovative new programs like outdoor community building and fitness events for community residents at St. Lawrence University and increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach to at-risk populations in Boston, St. Louis, Spokane, Athens and Kent. Other new initiatives included produce deliveries to home-bound older adults, cooking demonstrations at farmers markets and community dinners.
In early August, 37 leaders from 19 Campus Kitchens gathered in Washington, DC for our annual Boot Camp training, where they brainstormed ways to expand their operations, increase their effectiveness and develop new programming. These students also served our two millionth meal as a network, a huge milestone they reached simply by using the resources already available on their campuses and in their communities.
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.
Last weekend, over 200 students, staff and faculty from 23 colleges and universities throughout North Carolina gathered for two days at Wake Forest University for the second annual N.C. Campuses Against Hunger Conference, where they networked and collaborated on regional solutions for hunger in the state.
Approximately 170,200 different people in N.C. receive emergency food assistance in any given week, according to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks. This is equivalent to the entire current undergraduate enrollment of all 16 colleges and universities that make up the University of North Carolina system.
N.C. Campuses Against Hunger conference participants spent time sharing best practices and common problems in their efforts to combat hunger in their regions. Additionally, they experienced two different methods of fighting hunger: 12 lucky conference goers were able to participate in a Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University (CKWF) cooking shift and witness a local, long-term effort to fight hunger, while everyone else participated in a Stop Hunger Now meal packing session and learned about a large-scale, global effort.
Representatives from the Campus Kitchens at East Carolina University and Elon University joined their counterparts at CKWF for the conference, where they spent some time discussing their respective roles in the fight against hunger in North Carolina.
According to the latest Feeding America Map the Meal Gap data, North Carolina has the fifth highest food insecurity rate in the country. Our three Campus Kitchens in North Carolina are doing their part to lower this rate: this summer alone, they served more than 700 meals to nearly 500 clients combined. Collaboration among these Campus Kitchens is just one way they go beyond the meal to address the underlying causes of food insecurity in the state and become even more effective in the fight against hunger.