Welcoming University of Nebraska Omaha to the Network
Food waste is the number one contributor to landfill waste in Omaha, Nebraska, yet one in five children in Omaha don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Recognizing this huge disparity in where food ends up, the students at University of Nebraska Omaha started planning for a Campus Kitchen to serve the food insecure members of their community. Last spring, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) participated in a national launch grant video competition to start their own Campus Kitchen. After rallying thousands of votes from their supporters and winning a $5,000 grant sponsored by Sodexo, the students and faculty at UNO have finalized their planning.
Today, University of Nebraska Omaha joined The Campus Kitchens Project with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen. The Campus Kitchen at the University of Nebraska Omaha (CKUNO) is the 55th Campus Kitchen to join the national network. CKUNO is sponsored by the school’s Office of Sustainability and is partnering with the Office of Civic and Social Responsibility for volunteer recruitment.
With support from their in-house dining service provider, UNO Food Service, CKUNO will conduct food recovery shifts at catering events held in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Monday through Friday. In the future, CKUNO will expand to include all events catered by UNO Food Service. Student volunteers will deliver all recovered food to Youth Emergency Services twice a week and expand to more days if it is warranted.
Olivia Rogine, CKP’s Community Development Coordinator is spending the next couple of days in Omaha, Nebraska sharing best practices and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to run an effective community-based organization. We’re thrilled to welcome CKUNO to our growing network, as they help us prevent even more food from going to waste this year!
To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) is now on 54 high school and college campuses across the country. Just last year, student volunteers recovered over 1.3 million pounds of food. And, since 2001, student volunteers have prevented the waste of more than 6.1 million pounds of food to create 2.9 million meals. CKP teaches students to see wasted resources as a sustainable solution to community issues.
The first Campus Kitchen launched in 2001 at Saint Louis University. Since then, more than 50 schools have joined the growing national network, and more than 54,000 volunteers have passed through the program.
As an empowerment nonprofit that seeks to end hunger and food waste, 15 years of service alone is not a reason to celebrate. However, while the meals prepared by Campus Kitchen volunteers fight hunger today, the programs they create and the skills they develop address the underlying root causes of hunger in a way that fights hunger tomorrow. Through programming such as nutrition education classes, senior hunger outreach and community gardens, Campus Kitchens go beyond the meal to address access, isolation, and knowledge; key factors that perpetuate food insecurity. Fifteen years equipping student leaders with the tools and support to make a difference in their communities creates a lasting impact not just on the students, but on the future of food waste and food insecurity.
By learning how to recover food, plan meals, and run a community kitchen, student volunteers develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills that they will use long beyond their days in school. In a recent survey of committed student leaders, 95.8% agreed that the leadership skills they have acquired through the Campus Kitchens will make them more likely to find a job, and an equal number believe that volunteering with the Campus Kitchen will benefit their search for employment. What’s more, 100% of Campus Kitchen alumni and 97.2% of current students feel that they have contributed in a valuable way to their community.
This year, CKP seeks to engage even more students to cultivate the next generation of leaders. Join us in celebrating our 15 years of developing young leaders and raising individuals out of poverty by starting your own Campus Kitchen. To learn more about bringing our work to your school, visit www.campuskitchens.org/start-a-kitchen.