St. Lawrence University’s Campus Kitchen Project is one of seven chapters nationwide to benefit from a $150,000 grant.
Campus Kitchens, founded in 2001, is a nationwide student-led effort to fight both hunger and food waste by collecting extra food from on-campus dining halls, community gardens, restaurants and grocery stores, and making it into healthy meals. The grant was provided by Denver, Colo.-based CoBank. St. Lawrence’s chapter will receive $5,000 for program development.
Katherine Brown '15, president of the Campus Kitchens Project at St. Lawrence University, said that they have entered into a partnership with the Canton Central School District on a program called Golden Bear Packs. It provides school-age students who rely on free or reduced school-provided meals throughout the week with food for the weekend.
"The main demographic that attends our weekly meal is senior citizens, while each week we usually serve less than five people under 50," said Katherine of Bristol, Vermont. "We are of course thrilled that we are reaching out to those in need. However, we saw this grant as an opportunity to extend our reach, specifically to food-insecure children in the Canton area. The grant money will allow us not only to continue forming community relationships but to also make a positive impact in the lives of local youths."
St. Lawrence’s chapter relies on food donations that come mostly from the dining halls at St. Lawrence as well as SUNY Canton. CSAs (community-supported agriculture) and local farmers markets also supply some of the food that is served up to local residents. The St. Lawrence chapter was also recently selected as one of 10 Campus Kitchens in the nation to focus on senior hunger as part of a three-year, $650,000 grant from the AARP Foundation.
In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens nationwide collected more than 823,549 pounds of food and served 293,963 meals to 12,006 clients, the organization says. The organization has 42 affiliates nationwide. The other six to benefit from the two-year grant are:
- Elon University, Elon, North Carolina
- Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota
- Troy University, Troy, Alabama
- University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
- Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
Student volunteers from the seven affiliates are encouraged to identify new and innovative solutions to fighting hunger in their communities that go beyond the traditional model of providing meals. These campuses are ideal “test kitchens” for more sustainable solutions to hunger, the organization says.
The Campus Kitchens Project national program team will work with student leaders to evaluate the most effective rural-focused programs and support each Campus Kitchen in developing toolkits and trainings that will allow other universities to replicate these promising solutions.