Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Posts by Annie Wheeler

Raise the Dough 2018

, March 7th, 2018

Each year, we host a network-wide crowdsourcing fundraiser called Raise the Dough where schools have exactly one week to raise as much money as they can. The schools on top of the leaderboard at the end of the week earn additional cash prizes ranging from $250-$1,000. This year, our student volunteers from 27 schools reached out to hundreds of their peers, faculty members and community supporters with impressive results. Together, they raised over $50,000 from nearly 900 individuals to support their innovative student-powered hunger relief efforts.

The Campus Kitchen at Gettysburg College took home first place raising a record-breaking $10,315 to support their Healthy Options program, an initiative that provides increased ability to purchase healthy, fresh foods to families experiencing food insecurity, yet are not eligible for federal food assistance programs. The Campus Kitchens at Washington DC and University of Maryland Eastern Shore came in second and third respectively. For the third year in the row, the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga College High School had the most donors, leveraging the support of 264 individuals to raise over $8,000.

Not only were prize dollars on the line, but we were also excited to offer $15,000 in matching funds available from Craig Newmark Philanthropies! Grassroots donations $100 and under were matched up to a total of $15,000. Including the generous match opportunity from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Raise the Dough brought in over $67,000.

A giant “thank you” goes out to all 877 donors and to all who shared our challenge with their own networks. Your support makes all the difference in aiding our efforts to alleviate hunger and food waste, which since 2001 has empowered student volunteers to recover more than 7 million pounds of food and serve over 3.3 million meals.

Meet CKP’s New Intern, David!

, February 8th, 2018










David Ajamy II joined The Campus Kitchens Project as an intern in January 2018. David is a junior at Wake Forest University studying Political & International Affairs with the Campus Kitchen since he arrived at Wake Forest. From an active volunteer to a shift leader, and most recently the PR director, David has found himself a home with CKWFU. David’s passions include farming and working on the ground with people in work involving food justice.

It seems a lot easier looking back than it was looking forward. As I find myself working with The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) as an intern, I think back to times when where I am now seemed out of reach, even unthinkable. In my youth, my family suffered from extreme poverty much of my life, resulting in us being homeless for a large portion of time when growing up. While we haven’t escaped poverty even now, times are much better. Nonetheless, my past did and will always shape me. It was because of my past that I found The Campus Kitchens Project. Sadly though, it wasn’t until I was able to work with the organization that I found it. Prior to coming to Wake Forest University, I had no idea about the home I was going to find with CKWFU. A place where I could give back and help my fellow Winston-Salemites. A place with people who cared not just for me, but for the greater community and food justice. Going on my third year with the CKWFU, I have found not just community but found my calling in fighting for food justice.

But to find my calling, my family and I had to struggle. While being hungry is something we all know, being hungry and having nothing to eat is all together something unimaginable unless you live it. It’s something I will never forget, days where there truly was nothing to eat, and it’s because of those days that I found myself working with the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University.

Being able to help Winston-Salem and the community I was raised in through my work with the CKWFU is one of the most powerful things for me. Meeting the people of my city, and not just helping but creating a bond with the community is something that brings me a joyous feeling that words can’t describe. As a junior now studying in DC, I knew I had to try and work for the organization that gave me a home while at university. Luckily, I was given the chance to work with CKP for the semester, and while only a couple weeks into my internship, I feel at home. I know I am with people who want to change the world and that gives me hope. And I hope in my time here, I can bring a fresh perspective since I am straight from a Campus Kitchen and now at headquarters. But while I want to assist struggling schools, I also want to work on spreading this organization across the U.S. because hunger exists in every state and every city. With all of this, I am excited for the time I have with CKP and am proud to say I am part of The Campus Kitchens Project team.

Food Waste & Hunger Summit Updates!

, January 3rd, 2018

The Food Waste & Hunger Summit is fast approaching! The 5th annual summit will be held at IUPUI in Indianapolis on March 24-25, 2018. The two-day conference brings together students, young professionals, and field experts from across the country to discuss complex issues related to hunger and food waste and exchange best practices in the movement towards a waste and hunger free world.

Find out more by heading to the Summit page.

Join us to unpack the triple bottom line of successful social ventures:

  • Expanding Equitable Access to Healthy Food
  • Creating Economic Opportunities and Meaningful Careers
  • Testing Innovative Solutions to Systemic Failures

We will explore why food waste and food insecurity continue to impact our communities, and we’ll highlight many of the leaders addressing these issues at various levels, from direct service to systems thinking.

This year’s Food Waste & Hunger Summit will feature several workshops, a film festival, and a diverse group of speakers and workshop facilitators. We look forward to hearing from field experts and up and coming innovators, including several Campus Kitchen student leaders, and diving deep into what we need to do to tackle hunger and food waste in this country.

Make sure you pre-register to be the first to know when registration opens! See you in March!

Join the Student Advisory Council!

, December 20th, 2017


The Campus Kitchens Project is thrilled to announce the creation of the Student Advisory Council. The Council will be made up of five students who will serve for one academic year term, August through May, beginning at Boot Camp each year. The Campus Kitchens Project wants to ensure it receives adequate guidance from participants in the program. The Student Advisory Council will create a mechanism to hear thoughts, feedback, ideas, and concerns on CKP as it continues to grow. CKP HQ encourages active members who are looking to take on a role of national scope with a low time commitment to apply.

Requirements of the Council:

  • Participate in a quarterly video or conference call lead by HQ (four times in one term)
  • Provide feedback to HQ about CKP as it sees fit and appropriate
  • Act as a sounding board for HQ on programming, organization updates and more
  • Other ad-hoc meetings or special projects as interested

Each student on the Council will receive $100 at the successful conclusion of their one-year term.

To apply: Please send your resume, a short cover letter, and a reference (academic or CKP advisor references are strongly preferred). In your cover letter please include your personal accomplishments and work at your local Campus Kitchen and why you would be a good fit for a role on the national advisory council.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis until June 1,2018. Please send all application materials in one email to

The first year of the Advisory Council will be August 2018 through May 2019.

Meet our Future Campus Kitchens!

, November 6th, 2017


The Campus Kitchens Project team is proud to announce that with 5,661 votes, Georgia College and State University came in first place in the Fall 2017 Launch Grant Competition sponsored by Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. As the school to finish with the most votes they not only win a $5,000 grant sponsored by Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, they also will receive airfare and lodging for two for the Food Waste & Hunger Summit. Graceland University and Earlham College also competed, coming in second and third place respectively, and will both be awarded $5,000 to help with startup costs.

On the final morning of the competition, the top two teams were about 10 votes away from each other. By the time voting closed at noon, Georgia College and Graceland University had each added over 1000 votes to their totals! That means that over 2000 individuals were motivated to make their voices heard as to who should win our launch grant competition.

We understand that the planning process requires organization, devotion, and motivation from students as they work with our team to meet the necessary qualification deadlines. While it’s a busy time for everyone, it brings out the best in the student leaders and their communities. This competition showcases the amazing power that student voices have.

When issues are presented to students, the first question is always ‘What can we do to help?’ The students who participated in the launch grant competition represent a part of the population who take that question one step further. They identified a problem, found a solution, and are working to implement it in their respective communities. We are proud to be welcoming them into our network of #hungerfighters.

Any student can make this a reality. The Campus Kitchens Project is always looking for students who are ready to make a change in their communities. We offer two Launch Grant Competitions a year and welcome everyone to compete. The three schools that competed in this Launch Grant Competition will add to the diversity and depth of our network. We are all excited to welcome them and can’t wait to see the good work that they will accomplish in their communities. Congratulations to all!

Graceland University

, October 26th, 2017

Earlham College

, October 26th, 2017

Georgia College

, October 26th, 2017

Meet Our New Director!

, October 16th, 2017

AbramsHeadshot We are excited to welcome our new Director of The Campus Kitchens Project, Dan Abrams. As student volunteers across the country are kicking off an exciting fall semester of impact, our new leader is eager to bring his energy and expertise to our growing national network!

Before joining The Campus Kitchens Project, Dan served as the Director of Earth Day where he was a lead organizer for the March for Science event in DC, drawing over 150,000 supporters taking a public stand for evidence based policy-making.

Prior to that, Dan worked in various roles at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While at EPA, Dan worked on critical administration activities including the Agency’s response to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the roll-out of the United States’ Climate Action Plan and Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first regulations targeting carbon dioxide.

Dan’s obsession with eliminating wasted food began during his time at EPA. In the summer of 2015, Dan successfully pitched John Oliver’s team to create a featured segment on the topic, earning millions of views and moving the problem of food waste to a national conversation.

Dan got his start organizing on his college campus as an undergrad at Northeastern University. While there, Dan helped lead the environmental group and was the communications director for a Massachusetts state-wide non-violent direct-action campaign by students to support renewable energy. In his final year, Dan created a program called Trash2Treasure, to save useful objects from the landfill during move-out season and sell them back in a garage sale the following fall. Now a signature program at the University, Trash2Tresure earns thousands of dollars for student programming annually.

“I am thrilled to join this incredible team at The Campus Kitchens Project,” said Dan.  “Wasted food is a disaster for the environment and the economy. I look forward to working with college students across the country to develop programs to transform would-be-wasted food into meals for individuals and communities in need.”

From everyone at The Campus Kitchens Project, and our family at DC Central Kitchen, we happily welcome Dan to the team!


VISTA Year Reflections

, June 26th, 2017

As their time with us winds down, we sat down with three of our AmeriCorps VISTAs, Eirann, Sarah, and Emily to reflect on their service year with us.

What brought you to CKP?

Eirann: I was interested in and involved with sustainable food and anti-hunger initiatives throughout college. I realized the tremendous potential that college students have in shaping and influence the anti-hunger movement and I was eager to take a VISTA position with CKP so that I could continue to be a force in the movement, even beyond my college years. I was excited to immerse myself even deeper in the cause and learn more about the non-profit sector, while using my past experiences to influence change.

Sarah: After working as a client manager at a corporate insurance firm, I was searching for a position where I could transition into the non-profit sphere and focus on food justice issues. I have lived in the Chicago area for 15 years, so I was excited to be able to learn more about and serve my own community.

Emily: After I finished my Undergraduate degree I knew I wanted to have some job experience under my belt before starting graduate school. As I was applying for jobs I knew that I wanted to be part of an organization whose missions were aligned with my own. Once I came across the opening at Campus Kitchens I immediately applied, knowing that this would be a good fit.

Where are you headed next?

Eirann: Next year I’ll be living in Paris, obtaining a graduate degree in French through Middlebury College.

Sarah: Either pursue a graduate degree in food policy or move on to another anti-hunger non-profit.

Emily: I’m heading to Europe for a backpacking trip and then applying to jobs in the public sector.

How has CKP impacted your future career?

Eirann: I hope to one day do translation work for a non-profit or NGO in the environmental sector. My time spent with CKP has given me a valuable look into the non-profit world and has provided numerous opportunities to network in the field.

Sarah: Working with CKP in a VISTA capacity has served as a “non-profit boot camp” year for me. I have gained skills in developing and implementing new programs, recruiting and managing volunteers, and researching and creating community resources. It has been an incredibly dynamic experience that has reinforced my career path of working with anti-hunger groups.

Emily: I’m sure that the work I have completed with CKP has influenced me in ways beyond my recognition. CKP has solidified my passion for working with the public in ways that impact their health and wellbeing.

What has been your favorite part of working with CKP?

Eirann: It’s been inspiring to see all of the different angles from which CKP and CKP’s partner institutions combat hunger. By researching the various tactics and strategies that different organizations use, I’ve been able to learn a lot about crafting campaigns and initiatives, and I’ve been able to understand various aspects of the anti-hunger movement in a much deeper manner.

Sarah: My favorite part has been helping our student leadership team to broaden their perspective beyond campus and identify strengths and needs in our community. I have really enjoyed working with them to recruit volunteers and implement nutrition education programs.

Emily: My favorite part of working for CKP has been all the opportunities to meet individuals who have like-minded interests and new perspectives.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Eirann: Trying to facilitate communication between the entire Campus Kitchen VISTA network and finding ways to work together while not in the same location. Also, creating an open channel to share resources throughout the network and not duplicate efforts.

Sarah: The hardest part of my VISTA year was my inability to pilot our new Healthy Living for Families curriculum. While I didn’t find a site that worked for the program, I am very proud of the resources we developed and am excited to leave the new cohort of VISTAs well-equipped to continue our work.

Emily: Doing multiple projects at once!

What projects or curricula have you worked on?

Eirann: I wrote a guide for Campus Kitchens which addresses how they can work with community farmers markets to accept SNAP benefits. I have also compiled a food donation and food use best practice guide, with an accompanying cookbook. Additionally, I worked on writing a new culinary based nutrition education curriculum targeted at families, with Sarah Benedict, the VISTA at CKNU.

Sarah: My two main focuses this year were on nutrition education and SNAP outreach. I personally developed new nutrition education resources for elementary and middle school youth and collaborate on a new program for families with the VISTA in DC. I analyzed the results of our annual client agency survey to develop SNAP and SNAP E&T resources tailored to the needs of their clients.

Emily: I have worked on various projects that address topics, including garden education, SNAP education, nutrition education, volunteer management, volunteer training, volunteer recruitment, updating technologies/practices, management of interns, trainings/orientations, and creating guides.

What was the most surprising part?

Eirann: It is truly impressive that CKP has such an enormous impact despite having so few staff members. This speaks not only to the talented staff’s immense passion for their work, but also to the tremendous power that the students have in affection local and national change. While this isn’t necessarily a surprise, it is still a happy revelation!

Sarah: The biggest surprise, and one of my favorite aspects, has been the connectivity of the national staff. While there are only two individuals in our office at CKNU, weekly check in calls and regular communication with CKP staff and VISTAs in DC, Boston, and Milwaukee have helped to foster collaborative projects and root our work in a broader context.

Emily: Never a dull day at the office!


Interested in joining AmeriCorps? Learn more here.

CKP Twitter CKP Facebook Donate Now