Campus Kitchen helps students give back to the community

Campus Kitchen is an initiative that caters for food insecurities in the community.

The kitchen is on campus at Minnesota State University, Mankato and operates out of Crossroads Lutheran Church.

The organization creates a community of care and also prepares students for leadership as the program relies on student volunteers to get work done.

Karen Anderson, the manager for Campus Kitchen, said that the aim of the organization is to “rescue food from restaurants and local businesses and serve it to people facing food insecurity.” The kitchen’s targeted demographics are the elderly, young and ill in the community.

Campus Kitchen is affiliated with the National Campus Kitchen program, an initiative that brings college and universities together with student volunteers, on campus dining services and community organizations in order to fight hunger in cities across the United States, said Anderson.

She also stated that the campus kitchen does not use Sodexo’s kitchen or food. Sodexo does an annual food drive fundraiser for the organization to help stock the shelves of the kitchen.

The kitchen is a huge way for unusable, yet still edible food to be rescued from the community. According to Anderson, eight tons of food was harvested from local restaurants last year and seven tons was harvested the year prior.

The campus kitchen’s efforts have helped student’s give back to those who are in need in the community.

“The campus kitchen project has been able to inculcate the spirit of volunteering in most students,” said Anderson. “As a lot of students shift leaders stay in their positon because they enjoy the people they interact with at the agencies and restaurant and it also brings a sense of making a difference and contributing to the community.”

Campus Kitchen doesn’t have a particular day they meet as it is not a club, but they have nine work shifts and three to four shifts require more than two people. Volunteers are needed to help make the meals and cover shifts. Drivers are also needed to drop the meals off to the people.

Anderson also notes that in April there will be “applications available to those interested in serving as shift leaders.”

“The process involves an interview and training at the end of the semester as well as training in the beginning of the school year,” said Anderson.

If time is tight and you can’t offer volunteer hours, donating much needed non-perishable food and non-food items, such as to-go containers, is a way to get involved as well.

One goal for Campus Kitchen this semester is to send students to participate in the 2018 Food Waste and Hunger Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana at the end of March. The summit is a weekend for students all over the country to get together with young professionals and field experts to learn about sustainable solutions, advocacy and leadership, according to the Campus Kitchen Project website.

For more details about the Campus Kitchen, students can visit the OrgSync page at MNSU.

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