Some awesome things have been happening with the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University, and I’m here to let you in on the action! I have had the pleasure of working with this amazing group of college students for the last 6 months, and it is incredible to be a part of everything that they have achieved (SO FAR) in 2016! We have collected incredible amounts of food, been working on new nutrition education programs, received grants to expand our operation, are planning a banquet for EASE house, and are looking for more volunteers to pick up, package, and deliver food in Lee County, BECAUSE WE ARE SAVING SO MUCH!!! There has been so much growth, and I am excited that I get to be a part of it.
First of all let me say how proud I am to report that Campus Kitchen at Auburn University broke a personal record for the most amount of food collected in a single month in the spring semester! In February of 2016 we collected 1,188 pounds of food! This is over double the amount that we normally pick up and distribute in a month, and is almost half of the total amount that we collected last Fall! This is a fantastic number in more ways than one! This is almost 1,200 pounds of food that has been saved from the landfill, and almost 1,200 pounds of food that has been put into the hands of people who truly need and depend on it.
Campus Kitchens is also working on rolling out a new nutrition education program at Community Market! Our nutrition director, Halie, will be working with the guests at the Community Market to teach healthy ways to prepare produce they get on their visits. Community market gives “free weight” produce to those who qualify, but cooking with new ingredients can be intimidating, so quite a number of people don’t take much produce home with them. This program will work to teach visitors how to use produce that they might not be familiar with and incorporate it into delicious and healthy meals. This means more healthy food options in people’s homes, and less wasted produce. This is a great new addition to our program!
As anyone knows, expansion isn’t possible without support from donations, grants, and devoted volunteers. With your help, we crowd funded a total of $700.00 for our Raise the Dough Campaign, which will help us package 4,200 meals for residents of Lee County! This semester we were also honored to be a beneficiary of the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship, sponsored by Sodexo Foundation. Our former President, Daniel Cason, applied for this scholarship and was selected as a regional winner, and was granted $1,000 to donate to the organization of his choosing, and he chose CKPAU! We also received the CoBank Rural Hunger Outreach Grant. The Rural Hunger Outreach Grant will allow us to expand our involvement with Meals on Wheels in Auburn, will support a nutrition education program at Our House (an after school program that serves kids ages kindergarten through middle school in a government housing neighborhood in Auburn) and Community Market, and will fund a part time “Hunger Fellow” to keep Campus Kitchens up and running for the summer of 2016!
As if we weren’t going above and beyond already, we are also hosting a banquet, in partnership with Committee of 19, to serve residents of East Alabama Services for the Elderly (EASE House) on April 3rd from 5-7pm at the Red Barn. We will be working with volunteers to serve and sit with residents at EASE House and provide a meal for them. Tiger Dining is providing the food, and Tiger Transit is providing transportation from EASE House to the Red Barn. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Daniel Cason at DSC0016@auburn.edu.
Finally, with all the progress over the last few months, we are always looking for new volunteers. We welcome anyone to come spend time volunteering with us. There are many opportunities to grow in your position and make a difference in the community. If you would like more information about Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn, contact Hallie Nelson at HMN0005@auburn.edu. If you would like to volunteer, please CLICK HERE!
Thank you for everything you do, and I look forward to hearing from you about the awesome work we are doing at CKPAU.
Until Next Time!