Student-Powered Hunger Relief

2014 Campus Kitchen award winners

, April 10th, 2014


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 first-ever Food Waste & Hunger Summit, Campus Kitchens from around the country gathered to celebrate their accomplishments over the past year. The Campus Kitchens Project presented eight individuals and Campus Kitchens with awards acknowledging their commitment to fighting hunger and dedication to the Campus Kitchen network.

Going Beyond the Meal Award – recognizes the Campus Kitchen that demonstrates excellent “beyond the meal” initiatives in service to their community.
The Campus Kitchen at Auburn University
Serving more than just meals is something that the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University has been striving to do since they began in 2011. Bringing the campus and community together as they continue to grow their program is one of their main goals. Realizing that the students they fed during the week oftentimes are not getting adequate meals on the weekend, they have grown their “Blessings in a Backpack” program to now provide meals every Friday afternoon to over 700 students so they can enjoy healthy balanced meals and snacks when they aren’t at school. CKAU is also actively involved in their on-campus food pantry, which helps serve student on campus who might also be in need of food. Always looking for other ways to contribute to their clients, CKAU is also planning to start a crock pot nutrition education cooking class for families in their community. Clearly, CKAU understands the impact of serving more than just a meal!

Ingrid Easton Student Visionary Award celebrates the entrepreneurial drive in our student leaders, who dream big and make it happen. The award is named in honor of Ingrid Easton, Washington and Lee University graduate who achieved her goal of opening a Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University in September 2006.
Leah Schenkel, the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University
Leah Schenkel has been a dedicated volunteer with the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University for her 4 years as a student at Wake Forest. This year she is their first-ever Procurement Coordinator. In this volunteer role, Leah has streamlined food rescue operations and tracking, formed important relationships with Aramark, and further developed strong community relationships to find a place for food with social service agencies across the city. Under Leah’s leadership CKWF has almost completely eliminated food waste in their operations and have increased the opportunities to capture food waste on campus and in the community. Most significantly, Leah is a constant presence in the Campus Kitchen. She has gone out of her way to come to know all of CKWF’s partners so that she knows specifically what they can use the most. Leah is the the X-factor that you might not expect but whose hard work makes the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest run its most effectively. She has been a tireless advocate for eliminating food waste and food justice. Her Campus Kitchen feels that having Leah as an unique ingredient in their Campus Kitchen has enriched their leadership recipe beyond measure.

Nopalitos Awardgoes to the volunteer who never faltered in the face of adversity and instead rose to every challenge and took every difficulty in stride.
Steve Caldwell, the Campus Kitchen at Elon University
Steve works tirelessly to grow his program’s impact in its community and on the students who are part of its operations. Last year, the Campus Kitchen at Elon University applied for and won an AARP subgrant award to grow its services to seniors. Their growth over the course of last year was exciting, but included a few surprise turns, which Steve took in stride and used as an opportunity to meet the community’s needs in new ways. The biggest challenge occurred in September 2013, when a local agency fighting hunger announced it was closing its doors. Steve, together with other community leaders, created a plan to ensure that no food insecure residents and no food donations would fall through the cracks in the aftermath of this significant change. In the end, the Campus Kitchen at Elon ended up growing to meet the needs of the community by coordinating all food donations through the university to help its client agencies scale up their meal services to fill the gap.

Growing the Movement Award – recognizes an individual who has looked beyond the change that they can achieve in their own community and has given back to the entire Campus Kitchens network. 
Jenny Bird, the Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University
Jenny has now only grown her Campus Kitchen’s impact in the community, but has worked tirelessly to assist other campus Kitchens across the network through advice, best practices and encouragement. She was first hired several years ago to be the coordinator of the Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University but took on the dual role of Coordinator/Program Manager a few years ago. Jenny has hosted representatives from other Campus Kitchen locations on spring break trips, showing students new skills like scratch cooking, how to prepare 3 meals a day for cleints and families, and how to grow impactful programs. Further, Jenny has worked closely with students from schools interested in starting Campus Kitchens for the first time. She is a true asset to our organization and the embodiment of what it means to be a servant leader.

Community Impact Award – honors a Campus Kitchen that has made a measurable impact on food insecurity in their community, and has put in the effort to track their outcomes.
The Campus Kitchen at Lee University
CKLEE, through a huge food recovery effort, has made a measurable impact on hunger in their county. CKLEE has always done a great job at seeing a need in the community and addressing it (i.e. through their on-campus food bank for students in need, putting in extra efforts when there was a natural disaster in the state) but in the last year their food recovery has hit a whole new level. In the summer of 2013 they went from collecting a few hundred pounds of food each month from their campus dining provider to collecting up to 40,000 pounds each month from local Bi-lo, Cooke’s and Food Lion grocery stories. From January to June of last year they recovered 893 pounds of food, and from July through Dececember they recovered 238,764 pounds of food. CKLEE has become the steward of this huge stream of food, diverting it each month to their agencies, to individual meals they prepare for clients, and to grocery bags that they deliver to homes and to agencies for distribution. This large influx of rescued food, which CKLEE takes on the great responsibility of distributing, has no doubt had a broader, population level impact on the Cleveland area community.

Silo Buster Awardawarded to a student who has brought cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills to their Campus Kitchen.
Holly Faivre, the Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University
Holly exemplifies this award in two ways. First, she brings her cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills in the culinary arts and nutrition to her work as an LT member. This award also speaks to Holly’s can-do, bust-down-the-walls spirit. Whether she is campaigning to bring whole and local foods to campus, or dragging the rest of her fellow Leadership Team to plant orchards or watch a food documentary, Holly sees the big picture when it comes to her work in the kitchen. She uses her deep culinary knowledge to create delicious and healthy food for our clients. It wouldn’t be unusual to walk in the kitchen and see Holly leading a long assembly line of volunteers in something complex like calzone-making, putting the donated dough (something which at times goes to waste) to good use. She also puts volunteers to good use, seeing potential for leadership in others and inviting them into the cause. Holly knows so much about food and cooking, about the food advocacy, about health, it’s sometimes hard to keep up, but she makes you want to. In her ambition she taps all the resources around her for the betterment of our clients, our team, our university, and the fight to end hunger.

Volunteer of the Year Award – recognizes a student who has gone above and beyond in service to his or her Campus Kitchen.
Rosemary Raymundo, the Campus Kitchen at the University of Massachusetts Boston
Rosemary came on board in fall 2013 to offer translation assistance at one of CKUMB’s SNAP sites where the majority of the clients speak Spanish. It quickly became evident that her help was needed in other ways and she never hesitated to step up to the plate to offer that help. Rosemary quickly went from just providing translation at one site visit each week to translating large documents; working to recruit fellow students to assist in the program; distributing flyers; learning the basics of SNAP application assistance in order to directly assist clients; following up with SNAP clients; learning to heat and serve our meals; driving the meals and her fellow teammates to the weekly site; and helping her teammates to coordinate the site’s activities. She has taken ownership of so much more than we expected when she first came on board and is a perfect example of what it means to provide service to your community.

Kitchen of the Year honors the Campus Kitchen that excels not only in safe and efficient operations, but in the many components that support operations, including community partnerships, participation in the CKP network and volunteer engagement.
The Campus Kitchen at the University of Georgia
Though still a young program, the Campus Kitchen at UGA deserves the honor of kitchen of the year. In their 18 months of operation, they’ve exhibited great growth and agility. They have doubled their number of clients and number of weekly meals in that time, and when their partner agency, Athens Community Council on Aging had funding cut, they stepped forward to help fill in the gap of meal delivery. CKUGA has been awarded and successfully administered 3 AARP grants, and created a thriving Lunch Buddy program, which attempts not just to feed senior clients but also reduce the isolation that so many in the senior population face. While many kitchens struggle to keep going in the summer months, CKUGA has found a way to keep their service at the same level throughout the whole year. Though still in their first years of operation, this is a promising program that has earned the distinction of Kitchen of the Year.

See more pictures from the Food Waste & Hunger Summit on our Flickr page.

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