The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) reached an impressive 5 million pounds of recovered food this month. This recovered food, which would have otherwise been wasted, was repurposed into over 2.7 million balanced and nutritious meals to feed people struggling with hunger.
CKP’s network is continuing to grow as our pounds of recovered food and delivered meals also rise. From September to October 2015, CKP launched four new Campus Kitchens across the nation. Just imagine how we could continue fighting food waste and hunger in the United States if our network grew from 50 to 100 schools. How many million pounds of food would be recovered and repurposed into balanced, nutritious meals then?
We need your support to grow our national network and increase our impact in communities across the country. Here’s why you should get involved in ending food waste:
- The stats. Americans waste 40% of food in the United States, enough to fill 730 football stadiums per year. On average, each of us wastes 15 to 20% of our own food each year. The average college student generates approximately 142 pounds of food waste a year. If this isn’t a good enough reason, we don’t know what is.
- John Oliver. Everyone remembers the poignant host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” denouncing America’s relationship with food earlier this summer. It’s not just the fact that Oliver is behind the movement but that it’s gained so much national momentum and attention. Late night show hosts are making a point to discuss the impending food waste crisis and encouraging everyone to do what they can to end it. So why not hop on that bandwagon?
- Volunteering feels good. We all know that doing something nice for someone else just feels good. Our student volunteers recognize that the good work they do in a Campus Kitchen has a tremendous impact in their community. And as one volunteer noted, “I can’t be happy full when others are hungry.”
- Gain new skills. By taking the initiative to run a community kitchen, students develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, along with a commitment to serve their community, that they will carry with them into future careers. Each Campus Kitchen goes beyond meals by using food as a tool to promote poverty solutions, implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education, and convene food policy events, essentially running a nonprofit while doing so.
- Be a part of something. In the last academic year, 45 Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 988,705 pounds of food and delivered 321,936 meals. The Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University just delivered their 240,000th meal, while the Campus Kitchen at the University of Houston has recovered over 3,000 pounds of food in just a few months of operating. Our student leaders have an enormous impact in their communities while also contributing to a global movement.
How can you get involved?
- Learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, and check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
- Donate – Your contribution will support our innovative hunger relief and leadership development.
- Follow us on social media! Visit our Facebook page, and follow @campuskitchens on Twitter and Instagram to get an inside look at our Campus Kitchens across the US!
- Refer a friend at another school to CKP!
Each year, The Campus Kitchens Project celebrates Thanksgiving by hosting a network-wide event that we call Turkeypalooza.
Turkeypalooza is a tradition where Campus Kitchens go above and beyond their normal operations to do a little something extra for their clients. Campus Kitchens do anything from preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal to hosting a canned food drive, to running a cooking shift with their clients. Across our 49 Campus Kitchens, Turkeypalooza was a tremendous success. Thousands of meals were made to serve hundreds of people struggling with food insecurity.
Here are just a few highlights from how Campus Kitchens made this year’s Turkeypalooza great!
- Chicken: Making scratch-cooked turkeys on a large scale can be challenging, so this year, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) hosted a “ChickenPalooza” where student volunteers created a Thanksgiving meal, substituting chicken for turkey. The volunteers spent a full day cooking to create 300 meals to deliver to their clients in Evanston, Illinois. Read more about CKNU’s Chickenpalooza here.
- Student Athletes: More than 65 student-athletes and staff volunteered at the Campus Kitchen at Marquette University before Thanksgiving. Volunteers from the women’s soccer team, men and women’s track and field and cross country programs, and both men’s and women’s lacrosse teams helped make 698 Thanksgiving meals for food insecure individuals in the Milwaukee area. We couldn’t do this work without our volunteers, and in this instance, student athletes.
- Community: The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University scratch-cooked over 400 balanced, nutritious Thanksgiving meals for their community members. A senior at Wake Forest, Brooke Lucas, keeps in mind this holiday season that students are still part of the Winston-Salem community. “Thanksgiving is a holiday for everyone to share, not just those who can afford it,” Lucas said. And we agree! Turkeypalooza is always a success when you keep your community in mind.
- Partnership: The Campus Kitchen at the College of William and Mary (CKWM) teamed up with the Black Law Students Association. Together, the two organizations collected 4,114 canned goods, like green beans, soup, mashed potatoes, and more! Students at CKWM also connected with local churches and newspapers to help spark interested in the event. After the can drive, about 60 students volunteered during the six hour Turkeypalooza event to create 132 Thanksgiving meals. Read more about CKWM here.
- Celebrities: Nothing makes an event successful like an appearance from a celebrity, or in this case, a very famous family. President Obama, the First Lady, and their two daughters joined the Campus Kitchen at Washington DC (CKWDC) to serve their Turkeypalooza meal. President Obama and his family served a meal prepared by CKWDC at their partner agency, Friendship Place’s event, Feast with Friends. Veteran families and formerly homeless participants in Friendship Place’s Veterans First Program gathered to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. President Obama served the Turkey and gravy, naturally, while Michelle, Malia, and Sasha dished traditional Thanksgiving sides.