TROY - The Campus Kitchen at Troy University, a student-led effort to fight hunger in the local community, has provided more than 5,000 meals to families and individuals since it launched a year ago.
During a celebration on Thursday, Nov. 12, marking the organization's first year on campus, Campus Kitchen leaders reported that the group has provided 5,163 meals to the local community since launching on Oct. 31, 2014.
TROY Campus Kitchen President Leebo Tyler, a junior math major from Mobile, said that at launch, the group hoped to provide at last 60 meals a week, and quickly surpassed that.
"It's something that you try to imagine but really you just can't," Tyler said. "5,000 is an incredible number and hopefully we can do 5,000 more next year."
TROY's Campus Kitchen works to both reduce food waste and fight hunger in the community by re-purposing purchased, but unused food from the campus dining hall to prepare meals for local residents in need.
Student volunteers work to portion surplus food into healthy meals which are frozen, packed and delivered to locations throughout the Troy community, including the Head Start Program, the Christian Love Center, the Colley Senior Complex and the Open Gym Program at First Baptist Church. In the first year, 379 volunteers packed nearly 4,000 pounds for delivery.
"This has been an incredible first year for TROY's Campus Kitchen and I am proud of the hard work and efforts of our students and other volunteers who have made the program a success," said Jonathan Cellon, Coordinator for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Troy University.
In the year ahead, Cellon said the Campus Kitchen will not only continue to provide meals, but will expand its education and outreach efforts through a community garden program which provides opportunities to teach people about nutrition and all aspects of healthy living.
TROY's Campus Kitchen is operated by the by the Office of Civic Engagement with support from the Sodexo-run Troy University Dining Services. Other sponsors include TROY's School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management and the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation.
TROY's Campus Kitchen is part of the national Campus Kitchens Project. On more than 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.
The Campus Kitchen at Troy University celebrated its first year of operation on Thursday, Nov. 12, with an event at the Troy Campus. The group has provided more than 5,000 meals to local residents since launching operations last fall. TROY’s Campus Kitchen works to both reduce food waste and fight hunger in the community by re-purposing purchased, but unused food from the campus dining hall to prepare meals for local residents in need. Pictured left to right are students Holly Elkins, Kendall Vinsant, Stephany Ruano, Bailey Sutton, Leebo Tyler, and Jonathan Cellon Coordinator for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Troy University. (TROY photo/Jonathan Sellers)