TROY - Troy University today joined The Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community, with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen.
The student-led organization will provide free, healthy meals to area residents by using donated food that would otherwise go to waste. With the launch of the program, TROY students will join a network of peers from 39 schools operating their own Campus Kitchens.
At Campus Kitchens across the country, students lead efforts to combat food waste and hunger by collecting surplus food from dining halls, community gardens, restaurants and grocery stores and transforming it into healthy meals. The Campus Kitchen at Troy University, sponsored by the Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement, is the second Campus Kitchen in Alabama, joining the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University.
The Campus Kitchen at Troy University will conduct cooking shifts at Trojan Dining, the main dining hall on campus, and will recover food from on-campus dining halls – with support from Sodexo-run Troy University Dining Services. Volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at Troy University will initially serve children at the Pike County Head Start Program.
"We are thrilled to welcome Troy University to The Campus Kitchens Project network," said Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. "With the launch of their Campus Kitchen, Troy students will not only recover unused food to create meals for those in need, but they will also create programs that support the community and develop themselves as student leaders in the process."
"There are nearly 7,000 people living in Pike County who are at risk of hunger, more than 1,500 of them are children," said Robert A. Stern, chair, Sodexo Foundation. "Collaborative efforts like The Campus Kitchens Project support local efforts to improve quality of life and we are proud to support them."
"We are excited about joining Campus Kitchens today," said Jonathan Cellon, coordinator for service learning and civic engagement at Troy University. "Campus Kitchens will put our students in a leadership position to address the issue of hunger in Pike County and strengthen our relationship with our community. Students will better understand the causes and consequences of poverty, as well as how they can address these issues through individual and collective action. "
Troy University is one of seven universities that participated in the first-ever Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by Sodexo Foundation in late January. A diverse group of campus representatives created a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen and rallied thousands of supporters to vote for their video.
In the last academic year, 36 Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 939,034 pounds of food and served 271,967 meals to 8,509 clients.
About The Campus Kitchens Project
Founded in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project is a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community. On 40 university and high school campuses across the country, students transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers' markets into meals that are delivered to local agencies serving those in need. By taking the initiative to run a community kitchen, students develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, along with a commitment to serve their community, that they will carry with them into future careers. Each Campus Kitchen goes beyond meals by using food as a tool to promote poverty solutions, implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education, and convene food policy events. To learn more about our work or bring The Campus Kitchens Project to your school, visit www.campuskitchens.org.
Troy University today joined The Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community, with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen. Volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at Troy University will initially serve children at the Pike County Head Start Program. Pictured from left to right are Octavia Jones of Pike County Head Start, Jonathan Cellon, Coordinator of Service Learning and Civic Engagement; Dr. John Dew, Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Services; Matt Schnarr, Partnership Director for the Campus Kitchens Project; Olivia Melton, student leadership team member; Ivan Merrit, Associate Dean for Student Success and Ryan Cole, student leadership team member. (TROY photo/Kevin Glackmeyer)