I was getting lunch on Auburn’s campus with a friend during the spring semester of my freshman year, when I asked her, “where do you think all of the food goes that people don’t eat?” She had an answer for me and invited me to volunteer with Auburn’s Campus Kitchens Project (CKAU). Since that first volunteer shift, I have been in love with the mission of the Campus Kitchens Project (CKP). It is empowering to know that through my few hours of work with CKAU every week, I am impacting those who are food insecure in my community. Since coming to college, I feel a sense of ownership over and pride for the Auburn/Opelika area. This community has welcomed me during the most transformative years of my life, and giving back is something I prioritize.
I had the privilege of serving as the President of CKAU during the 2017-2018 academic year. I developed effective leadership skills and refined my ability to delegate tasks to my team. I worked alongside the greatest Vice President, Kenzley Defler, who continues to be an inspiration to me.
During my time as President, I grew as an individual and as a leader, and CKAU grew along with me. During my time as president, we recovered over 26,000 pounds of food and made over 14,000 meals. We formed multiple new community partnerships, allowing us to increase and expand our impact in our community. We also solidified a partnership with Golden Corral, providing us with our first restaurant recovery location, and diverting thousands of pounds of food from landfills.
I am now a senior at Auburn. I have stepped back from leadership in CKAU, only to enjoy seeing the group grow and flourish beyond my wildest dreams. I have served for the past semester as a resource and sounding board for the incredibly hard-working current leadership team. As I transition into this new role as an Intern for the Campus Kitchens Project, I am giddy with excitement to continue serving the organization on a national scale. I look forward to highlighting CKP groups that do extraordinary Beyond the Meal programming and the students behind the programs. The Campus Kitchens Project is not just something that you do, it is something you stand behind, and something you can triumph as a solution to systemic hunger in the United States. I am unequivocally proud to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.