Student-Powered Hunger Relief

Monthly Archives: March 2015

We’re hiring: 3 AmeriCorps VISTAs in 3 communities

, March 27th, 2015

kelly_cooking matters

If you’re passionate about reducing food insecurity, eliminating food waste, tackling food deserts or any other food/hunger-related issue, we’ve got jobs for you! These positions are with a Campus Kitchen or with The Campus Kitchens Project national office. Click the title of each position to learn more and to find the application.

Summer Associate VISTA – Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (due April 10)
Summer Associate VISTA – Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston(due April 10)
Summer Associate VISTA – Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University (due April 10)


Summer Associate VISTA – Northwestern University
The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) seeks a Summer Associate VISTA AmeriCorps member to support the CKNU Coordinator in running summer operations. Each summer, CKNU ramps up its summer operations to provide healthy meals and snacks to low-income children and youth in the greater Chicago area who typically receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch during the school year, but would be at risk of missing out on those meals entirely in the summer months. There will be two VISTA members working at CKNU during the summer months, so the position is a great opportunity for those who enjoy working as part of a team and gaining experience in direct service. This full-time position will begin on Tuesday, May 26 and end on Monday, August 3. See the full job description and learn how to apply.

Summer Associate VISTA – UMass Boston
The Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston (CKUMB), in partnership with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), seeks a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate to assist with the maintenance, development, and expansion of its current program operations. CKUMB regularly provides well-balanced, family-style meals and healthy snacks to low-income youth in Boston who generally receive free and reduced school meals during the school year. Nutrition education programming and community gardening opportunities are also provided to these youth, under supervision of the Summer Associate. Finally, the VISTA will promote and assist with the preservation and growth of CKUMB’s SNAP Outreach Program for clients of varied ages. This will include tabling, outreach events, eligibility screenings, and application assistance, and follow-up. This full-time position will begin on Tuesday, May 26 and end on Monday, August 3. See the full job description and learn how to apply.

Summer Associate VISTA – Saint Louis University
The Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University (CKSLU), in partnership with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, is seeking a full-time VISTA member for the summer to assist the coordinator and other staff with the daily operations of running a meals program—ensuring access to healthy, delicious meals for clients in need. Much of the job will be working with young volunteers from across the country, who come each summer on service trips to the Saint Louis area and volunteer with our agency. In addition to summer operations and volunteer leadership, the NYCCAH member will assist in food recovery and outreach to client agencies and individual clients. Finally, the NYCCAH member will assist in the continuation and growth of SNAP Outreach program for clients of all ages which will include tabling, outreach events, eligibility screenings, and application assistance and follow-up. This full-time position will begin on Tuesday, May 26 and end on Monday, August 3. See the full job description and learn how to apply.

The Campus Kitchens Project releases garden-based nutrition education curriculum

, March 25th, 2015

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The Campus Kitchens Project, in partnership with Sodexo Foundation, is proud to release “Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids,” a garden-based nutrition education curriculum which complements our classroom-based curriculum “Building Blocks for Healthy Kids”. “Sowing Seeds” inspires kids to make healthy choices by helping them discover where their food comes from and explore the food system from seed to plate. While it was designed for older elementary students, it can be adapted for younger or older audiences.

Developing this curriculum was my first major project as an AmeriCorps VISTA with The Campus Kitchens Project, and I was grateful for the opportunity to learn from innovative gardening and nutrition programs at several of our affiliates, including the Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston, the Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University, the Campus Kitchen at Baylor University and the Campus Kitchen at Augsburg College. “Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids” is based on best practices from these schools as well as USDA dietary guidelines and other national resources. The six lessons are accompanied by a teaching guide and a garden guide, which were also informed by my own experiences starting a campus garden and working with various garden education nonprofits before my time with The Campus Kitchens Project.

Each of the six lessons in the curriculum includes an integrated discussion of gardening and nutrition topics and a variety of additional resources. We suggest both garden and classroom-based activities related to the lesson topic, as well as a thematic snack and a take-home recipe for students to try with their families. Family newsletters for each lesson provide an opportunity to reinforce the lesson concepts at home and try fun new snacks or activities. While the curriculum provides nutrition information to empower students to make healthier choices, elements like the newsletters and lessons focused on the food environment and food traditions recognize that healthy eating and food access are issues that students can address on a community level as well. The teaching guide not only provides additional activity and resource suggestions, but also emphasizes core teaching principles like experiential learning and engaging with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Kelly Koss, an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU), led a pilot program of this curriculum last fall along with the Sodexo district dietitian. In addition to providing snacks in class, CKNU was able to send students home with the groceries needed to make each lesson’s suggested recipe thanks to Sodexo’s support. 85 percent of students in the pilot program increased their knowledge about lesson topics, and almost 70 percent reported preparing recipes and snacks from the curriculum at home with their families. Kelly’s feedback and data from student evaluations was invaluable in shaping revisions to the curriculum and evaluation system.

We hope that learning where food comes from and how to grow it can make kids lifelong healthy food advocates, but it’s crucial that we measure the short-term outcomes of our programs to see how students’ understanding and behavior is influenced by the curriculum. “Sowing Seeds for Healthy Kids” comes with a pre-test, post-test and guide to evaluating your program. While we welcome adaptations of the lessons, activities, recipes and newsletters to suit your particular community, we hope that anyone who uses the core elements of “Sowing Seeds” will send their outcome evaluations to We look forward to hearing how you put this curriculum to use!

The first Campus Kitchen in California launches at Sacred Heart Prep

, March 22nd, 2015

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded to our 26th state by welcoming Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton, California, to The Campus Kitchens Project network!

The Campus Kitchen at Sacred Heart Prep is our 43rd Campus Kitchen and the third high school to bring our program to their campus. Student volunteers will recover food that would otherwise go to waste from a nearby Draeger’s Market and Sacred Heart’s 10,000 square foot organic campus garden. The Campus Kitchen will also have great support from their campus food service provider, Epicurean, whose chefs will work side-by-side in the kitchen with students to create healthy balanced meals for their clients. At first, Sacred Heart Prep will provide community-style meals for 10 local families whose children are enrolled in a local tutoring program, which will provide enough food to each family to last them a few days at a time.

To make this happen, students at Sacred Heart Prep utilized our online Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides a step-by-step process for bringing a Campus Kitchen to any school. Entire planning teams can have access to their school’s Planner, which shows all of the tasks necessary to start a Campus Kitchen. Each task can be assigned to an individual and then checked off a list when it’s complete!

In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 823,549 pounds of food and served 293,963 meals to 12,006 clients. We’re thrilled to welcome the students at Sacred Heart Prep into our growing network, as they’ll help us prevent even more food from going to waste this year.

To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, visit our Campus Kitchen Planner.

Meet our launch grant winners and future Campus Kitchens

, March 9th, 2015

grant winner web story

From March 2 to March 9, four schools rallied thousands of votes from their students, alumni, staff and supporters to compete for a start-up grant to bring our program to their campus. The votes are in, and we are excited to announce the three winners of our latest launch grant video competition:

  1. Merrimack College –  9,492 votes
  2. Virginia Tech – 9,474 votes
  3. University of Houston –  2,474 votes

These three schools have each won a $5,000 grant sponsored by Sodexo Foundation to start their own Campus Kitchen by fall 2015. Four schools in all qualified for this competition through our online Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides step-by-step guidance to any group interested in bringing our program to their campus. After completing several steps in the planner, each competing school submitted a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen. Then, over the past 7 days, the competitors mobilized their supporters to vote for their videos once per day per device.

A big thanks to those who voted, and congratulations to our winners! We are so looking forward to adding you to our growing network, which is on track to recover more than 1 million pounds of food that would otherwise go to waste this year alone.

Want to join our hunger-fighting movement? Check out our upcoming grant opportunities to learn about future funding we’re providing to start Campus Kitchens.

10 Campus Kitchens awarded grants to address older adult hunger

, March 4th, 2015

uga-page-headerA three-year, $625,000 investment in The Campus Kitchens Project from AARP Foundation will allow Campus Kitchens across the country to better address older adult hunger in their communities – and will support the development of materials to allow other organizations to do the same.

10 Campus Kitchens have been selected to receive grants supporting their focus on the growing problem of older adult hunger. Those Campus Kitchens are:

In addition to providing more meals to older adults, student-led Campus Kitchen chapters at these universities will create replicable programs that have the power to fix the root causes of hunger specific to the older adult population. With a rising senior population that already includes nearly 9 million older Americans at risk of hunger, the 10 Campus Kitchens working on this initiative were selected for their promising new solutions to older adult hunger in their communities. From the Lunch Buddy program at University of Georgia to the Mobile Market at Washington and Lee University, student volunteers at these 10 Campus Kitchens will evaluate the most effective programs for addressing older adult hunger and isolation. They will then pool their knowledge to create a book of best practices available to any organization interested in tackling older adult hunger in their own community.

We’re teaching the students we work with to go beyond the idea of traditional charity and look for those levers of change that will address the underlying systemic problems – and we’re looking forward to documenting their efforts and sharing them with others engaged in eradicating older adult hunger.

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