Washington and Lee’s Campus Kitchen, with the help of AARP funding, works closely with the youth and seniors of Rockbridge County, specifically through our community outreach shifts and mobile food pantry program. Being a rural area, Rockbridge county faces food insecurity at a rate of 15.4%, which in comparison is to the state average of 11.4% is relatively high. To help combat poverty and the food insecurity that accompanies poverty, especially in rural communities, Campus Kitchen has set up a mobile food pantry that delivers to the food deserts of our county. Additionally, to foster education in youth populations, Campus Kitchen has also created a backpack program for children on free and reduced lunch programs to have food on the weekends.
Through our mission of bringing dignity to clients, Campus Kitchen travels to multiple communities in Rockbridge county monthly and delivers fresh and non-perishable food items monthly for residents faced with transportation and mobility issues. Additionally, Campus Kitchen has created a backpack program which provides food to many students in our county who receive free and reduced lunch. These backpacks are delivered to students on Fridays to ensure that they do not go hungry on the weekend and contain nonperishable food items to supplement weekend meals.
While our main mission is fighting food insecurity, we strive to do so in a way that creates lasting relationships with our clients and partners. A large component to effectively fighting food insecurity is creating and maintaining community. By providing dignified options to our clients, we continue to establish community relations and build bonds between individuals to create a culture of respect and understanding about causes and consequences of food insecurity.