As schools across the country start this fall, many children are reluctant to return to early morning classes and homework, but for others it means the months-awaited return of consistent, nutritious school meals. With classrooms and cafeterias closed for the summer, some children who had been getting two meals a day at school suddenly had very little on their plates. Over 22 million children receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year, but only 4 million children continue to receive meals during the summer.
In 1997, Sodexo launched Feeding Our Future to help close this gap and ensure children receive the nutritious meals they need. The program began in three cities (Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.) and served 25,000 meals in its first year. Feeding our Future has continued to expand, and this summer the program served 400,000 free summer meals in 23 cities across America. Since the inception of Feeding Our Future in 1997, Sodexo has provided over 5 million summer meals. Feeding Our Future is such a success due to the partnerships between Sodexo and local hunger relief organizations such as the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU).
CKNU is one of the largest Campus Kitchens in the national network. Each summer, CKNU partners with Sodexo as part of the Feeding Our Future program in order to fill the summer nutrition gap in the greater Chicago area. This year, student and community volunteers dedicated over 600 hours to prepare 21,847 meals for 720 youth – a 21% increase from last summer. CKNU also provided breakfast to certain partner agencies for the first time this year. CKNU is excited to be a part of Feeding Our Future and to continue growing the summer meals program!
To learn how your organization can be involved, contact CKNU Coordinator, Samantha Warren at email@example.com.
To learn more about Sodexo and the Feeding Our Future program, visit www.sodexofoundation.org.
– Sarah Benedict, Americorps VISTA, HFA Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University
Over 16% of Kentuckians are food insecure, which is over two percent higher than the national average. In Adair County, Kentucky, over 20% of children will face food insecurity. Seeing a large need for affordable food options, the students at Lindsey Wilson College started planning for a Campus Kitchen to serve the food insecure members of the community.
On Saturday, Lindsey Wilson joined The Campus Kitchens Project with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen. The Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson College (CKLWC) is the 54th Campus Kitchen to join the national network.
CKLWC is sponsored by the school’s Bonner Program, which provides scholarships to students in exchange for weekly commitment to intensive and meaningful service with a local community organization. With support from its self-operated dining services, CKLWC will begin by conducting daily food recovery shifts at the school cafeteria. Student leaders will also recover food from the community garden, a local pizzeria, and a local Mexican restaurant. CKWLC will deliver 20 to 40 meals to individuals referred by the Family Resource Center and elderly day care programs, with hopes of expanding their community reach soon.
During CKLWC’s launch, student volunteers recovered 70 pounds of prepared food from dining and 30 pounds of fresh produce from the campus garden and made 23 meals to deliver to individual clients in the community.
Lindsey Wilson participated in a national launch grant video competition to start their own Campus Kitchen in March 2016. After rallying thousands of votes from their supporters and winning a $5,000 grant sponsored by AARP Foundation, we’re thrilled to welcome the Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson to our growing network!
To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
The Campus Kitchens Project and good culture® partnership will help us all eat good things
Campus Kitchens has partnered up with good culture for the new school year to continue creating even more meals and fighting hunger. Each time you purchase a cup of good culture, 1% of that sale goes to help The Campus Kitchens Project.
The Campus Kitchens Project empowers students to fight hunger and food waste in their communities by recovering food from dining halls and creating balanced and nutritious meals. In this past school year at 53 Campus Kitchens, student volunteers recovered over 1.3 million pounds of food and created nearly 350,000 meals.
During the semester, a steady stream of student volunteers contribute to these efforts; however, during the summer break it becomes more challenging for student-led programs to sustain their critical work. In fact, summer is a time when the need is highest, as students who typically receive free or reduced price lunch in school are at risk of not receiving these meals while they’re out of the classroom.
Our Campus Kitchens have built relationships with their community volunteers to help fill this gap and remain open during the summer. Across the country, volunteers from 32 Campus Kitchens stayed at their school, making sure their Campus Kitchens were still recovering food, cooking healthy meals and delivering to their clients. And they have had an astounding impact throughout the summer months.
In June and July, over 2,200 volunteers served more than 9,700 hours with their local Campus Kitchen. During this time, volunteers recovered 151,570 pounds of food, and transformed it into 65,780 nutritious meals. These meals were then served to more than 1,500 clients in the surrounding communities at almost 300 partner agencies. Of these meals served, over 24,000 meals were distributed to youth clients.
Not only did our Campus Kitchens work hard to provide the meals their clients need, but they also went beyond the meal to address the root causes of hunger in their communities. Student leaders at the Campus Kitchen at Troy University hosted a backpack program, which provides weekend meals to children to address food insecurity at home. And student leaders from the Campus Kitchen at the University of Georgia hosted a Food Waste Fiasco event, in which local organizations gathered to discuss solutions to food waste in the community.
Thanks to our new partners at good culture, we’ll be sharing best practices, resources and trainings to help ensure all of our Campus Kitchens are able to keep running year-round. good culture is the maker of Organic Cottage Cheese made with real ingredients, no additives, promotes good health and tastes great. We love good culture’s philosophy: if you eat good things, and surround yourself with good, you’ll feel good. We’re proud of our students for their commitment to fighting hunger in their communities no matter what the season, and we’re thankful to have good culture to help make this happen.
The idea to bring food activist Rob Greenfield to Athens, Georgia came from the Campus Kitchen at UGA partner agency, the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA). The AmeriCorps VISTA who works at ACCA met Rob while living in California and learned of his biking tour across the United States. Rob is a food waste activist and the creator of The Food Waste Fiasco, a campaign that strives to end food waste and hunger in the US. Rob might be most well known in the food waste community for dumpster diving, which is the act of retrieving perfectly edible food from grocery store dumpsters. Feeling inspired by Rob’s work, the Campus Kitchen at UGA (CKUGA) and ACCA decided to work together to create a Food Waste Fiasco Event to draw attention to food waste in the Athens community.
With only about a month to pull the event together, CKUGA staff and volunteers were able to put up posters around town, send out press releases and emails, plug the event to a local NPR station, and utilized our student volunteers to share our Facebook event with their networks. We also hosted the event on campus in order to capture student attendees.
Rob Greenfield presented as the keynote speaker, sharing experiences in food recovery and what organizations and people can do to encourage grocery stores to donate instead of dump food. During the event, a local non-profit panel also presented. After CKUGA partnered on an event similar to this, we knew we wanted to invite local organizations to share what they were doing to help solve some of the issues related to food waste and hunger. Event attendees who wanted to do something about these issues were able to learn more about these local organizations and their volunteer opportunities.
CKUGA was happy to provid a meal for the 120 attendees. The meals were sourced from grocery store surplus and farms, in which CKUGA student volunteers had previously recovered.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the event was having the opportunity to dumpster dive. Campus Kitchen students went with Rob to 10 different grocery stores to dumpster dive. Some grocery stores in particular had the largest hauls of edible food, making everyone wonder if there was an opportunity for food recovery in the future. In a sense, dumpster diving served as a bit of research to see which stores could potentially give excess food to those in need instead of the trash. Rob’s stories of dumpster diving have shed light on food waste and hunger in America and CKGUA is excited to have participated in such an informative and fun event.
This blog post was written by Kaeli Evans, AmeriCorps VISTA member, the Campus Kitchen at The University of Georgia.