Step 1: Get leads on potential clients
- Talk to the community service office/service learning office to find out where students currently volunteer. Ask if any of these locations could benefit from a meal or a snack.
- Piggybacking meals off current service projects like tutoring, employment counseling, etc., is a GREAT option because it reduces your transportation and volunteer needs and strengthens what the university is able to provide to the community.
- Approach the local Meals on Wheels, YMCA/YWCA, Catholic Charities, Jump Start or Head Start agencies. The Campus Kitchens Project has had great client relationships with the above organizations in many of our operating Campus Kitchens.
- Contact your local food bank. The food bank client agency relations team member might be able to advise if any of their client agencies might be a good fit for Campus Kitchen meals.
- Connect with housing and urban development (HUD). Check for local HUD housing complexes, especially those that cater to a large home-bound senior population.
Step 2: Have an informational meeting with the potential client
- Call the client agencies and describe the Campus Kitchen and the services you will offer.
- Schedule a site visit to their agency.
- On the site visit:
- Learn all you can about the organization: who they serve, what services they provide, how clients are referred to their program, what requirements they have of clients, what their schedule is like.
- Tell them how the Campus Kitchen works: where food comes from, who prepares it and how it is delivered (by students who require the opportunity to engage in small conversations/activities with the clients).
- Tell them about the Campus Kitchen’s beyond meal initiatives with clients: meal toppers, special events, produce deliveries, etc.
- Ask the case manager if there are any services that the clients would need (food and nutrition focused).
- Logistics: estimate of the number of clients who need meals and what days are best for meal delivery.
- If possible, meet the potential client(s).
After site visits, assess your comfort and safety, the overall organization of the case manager/contact person, available parking and level of cleanliness.
Step 3: Make a plan
Now that you’ve talked to a few potential agencies, it’s time to decide who you think you’d like to serve. Then, looking at your available kitchen space, the food you’ll likely have available and the possible number of student volunteers, you need to estimate a plan for serving these agencies.
First, consider all of the agencies you’ve visited. Whose needs do you believe fit most closely with your Campus Kitchen’s interests and mission? Which agencies do you believe the Campus Kitchen could help the most? Do you think students would have a good experience at those agencies? And is there an opportunity for further partnership with any of them?
Now, plug them into a shift schedule. For instance, if you have planned three delivery shifts each week, and you’ve decided on a shelter, an after school program, and a low-income apartment building with 25 home-bound seniors, perhaps you’d make the following plan:
- Monday delivery: shelter dinner for 40; individual meal deliveries for 25
- Wednesday delivery: after-school snack for 50; individual meal deliveries for 25
- Friday delivery: shelter dinner for 40, individual meal deliveries for 25
Step 4: Balance your resources
Now, double check your plan against your food and volunteer supplies. Will you have enough volunteers for some to go to a shelter and some to do individual meal deliveries three days a week? That will require 2-4 volunteers and one car per delivery, or 4-8 volunteers and two vehicles total. Does that seem feasible? Will you have enough food coming into your Campus Kitchen from your dining hall and other partners to serve that number of meals and snacks?