Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Monthly Archives: May 2014

Campus Kitchen at ECU develops nutrition education program

, May 28th, 2014


The Campus Kitchen at East Carolina University has a reputation for making a positive impact in their campus community. In the 2013-2014 school year alone, they served more than 1,800 meals to 4 different client agencies. But serving meals is not the only thing at which the student leaders with the Campus Kitchen at ECU (CKECU) excel. Earlier this spring, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pitt County approached CKECU with a need: volunteers who would go beyond the meal and educate students on nutrition and healthy habits.

To meet this need, CKECU developed a custom six week program for the children, combining highlights from our Building Blocks for Healthy Kids curriculum and the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Healthy Habits curriculum. In all, 120 children at two Boys and Girls Club locations experienced the entire customized curriculum and were able to successfully recall what they had learned at the end of the program.

As they started developing their nutrition program, CKECU recruited and trained eight nutrition outreach coordinators, engaging six nutrition majors and four students who were new to the Campus Kitchen. These leaders were responsible not only for teaching twice a week, but also for developing lesson plans using the two curricula.

The program concluded during the week of May 5 with healthy banana splits and a game of “Food Group Jeopardy” – which can both be found in Lesson 4 of Building Blocks for Healthy Kids – for review.

But CKECU’s beyond the meal programming won’t stop there: this summer, they plan to teach their clients about healthy drink choices by using some of the 1,800 bottles of Dasani water donated through a Coca-Cola campaign on the ECU campus. Not only will students emphasize the importance of staying hydrated throughout the hot North Carolina summers, they will demonstrate just how much sugar and calories can be found in drinks other than water.

The Campus Kitchen at ECU will continue to operate throughout the summer thanks to support from Ameriprise Financial. You can get involved with their efforts to create 1,000 healthy meals in the next three months by volunteering while many of their students are away.

50 hours with the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern

, May 22nd, 2014


The students at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Mo., place a high value on service. In fact, at the end of their junior year, students complete a 50 hour community service internship at an organization to step outside of their comfort zones and learn about the needs in a particular community. This year, four of these students chose to pack their bags and spend 50 hours with the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU).

Matt, Jordan, Riley and Chandler arrived at Northwestern on Monday morning and are staying through Friday afternoon. They’re putting in long days (yesterday, they worked from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.) providing the all-star student volunteer power needed to run a Campus Kitchen. These four can tell you that involves a whole lot more than cooking and delivering. So far, they have cleaned the pantry, taken inventory, made 290 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch, cleaned CKNU’s reusable clamshell food containers, participated in every cooking shift, delivered meals and recovered food. In fact, on their very first morning, the boys accompanied Rebecca, our CKNU coordinator, on a food recovery shift where they picked up 70 pounds of food from Northwestern’s Sodexo-run dining halls and hauled it back to the CKNU kitchen. Once there, they learned how to properly bring the food down to a safe temperature for storing and how to complete our HAACP food safety paperwork.

So far, the four have enjoyed delivering meals to clients the most. They weren’t sure what to expect on their first meal delivery shift, but what they encountered were friendly people who were thrilled to chat with new volunteers. All told, Matt, Jordan, Riley and Chandler helped CKNU recover around 250 pounds of food and create 625 meals (plus all of those cookies). And as they consider where they might attend college in two years, Northwestern and its Campus Kitchen may be a contender: various CKNU leadership team members have given them tours and let them sit in on classes during their week on campus.

Thank you, Matt, Jordan, Riley and Chandler, for spending the week with CKNU. Your 50 hours have certainly made a difference in the kitchen and in the Evanston community.

Campus Kitchen grows with support of local organic grocer

, May 9th, 2014


In a small commercial kitchen in the Glover Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., shelves are overflowing with hundreds of pounds of fresh organic produce. Nearly every day, volunteers cart in more fresh food, sorting and dating boxes to ensure nothing is forgotten and left to rot. It’s thanks to the generosity of MOM’s Organic Market that shelf space is a hot commodity in St. Luke’s Mission Center, home to the Campus Kitchen at Washington, D.C.

Five or six times each week, a dozen or so retiree volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at Washington, D.C. (CKWDC) visit five of MOM’s 11 area stores to recover food that would have otherwise been thrown away. The organic produce and meat they pick up may be approaching the end of its shelf life or may have slight imperfections that render it unable to be sold, but with a quick turnaround and a few strategic slices of the knife, the food is ready to be eaten.

These crucial donations could not have come at a better time: since last December, the fresh produce MOM’s Organic Market stores donate to CKWDC has filled in for the lack of local produce the Campus Kitchen was able to recover from area farmers markets during the winter. Already in 2014, CKWDC has recovered 9,880 pounds of fresh food from MOM’s, enough to serve more than 1,300 healthy, scratch-cooked meals to Washington, D.C. residents. And the produce that CKWDC couldn’t use in time? Before it was too late, those items were sent off to the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga College High School, in turn improving the quality of their 120 weekly meals.

The generous, consistent donations from these MOM’s stores have enabled CKWDC to expand their capacity from cooking and delivering meals once a month to once a week. This time last year, CKWDC was serving around 200 clients on average each month. Now, they are serving about twice that many.

Learn more about how you can bring healthy produce to the hungry in your community by visiting our Campus Kitchen planner.

The Campus Kitchens Project comes to Green Bay

, May 2nd, 2014

Back in January, students and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay participated in our first-ever launch grant video competition and won $5,000 to start a Campus Kitchen. Since then, they’ve been finalizing operations plans, creating partnerships with other community organizations and recruiting excited volunteers. Tomorrow, the Campus Kitchen at UW-Green Bay will officially open.

The Campus Kitchen at UW-Green Bay (CKUWGB) is our 36th Campus Kitchen, the third in Wisconsin and the second to open in the University of Wisconsin system. They will operate out of the university’s dining services kitchen and initially recover food that would have otherwise gone to waste from A’viands campus dining service. This food will then be used to create nutritious meals for clients in the Green Bay community. CKUWGB will also partner with NEW Community Shelter, an emergency shelter serving adults experiencing homelessness. The Campus Kitchen is sponsored by UW-Green Bay’s office of Social Work Professional Programs.

UW-Green Bay is one of seven universities that participated in the Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation earlier this year. A group of campus representatives created a video (watch it at the top of this post) explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen and rallied thousands of supporters to vote for their entry. By the end of the competition, UW-Green Bay’s submission received nearly 5,000 votes, winning them a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.

Matt, our expansion and partnerships manager, is spending a couple of days in Green Bay sharing best practices with the student leaders who will be running the Campus Kitchen. Tomorrow morning, their official launch event will take place at the nearby Fort Howard Apartments, where student leaders and volunteers will conduct a cooking shift and prepare meals for residents.

Read more about the addition of the Campus Kitchen at UW-Green Bay to our growing network in this press release.

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school and to qualify for our next $5,000 grant opportunity, visit our Campus Kitchen planner.

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