Volunteering for The Campus Kitchen is open to all studentsThe Campus Kitchen, a student service organization that is an affiliate of the national The Campus Kitchens Project, provides a sustainable approach to reducing food waste while also providing healthy meals to those struggling with hunger.  

The Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky received a $5,000 grant from the UK Student Sustainability Council in November 2015. With this grant, The Campus Kitchen has set a goal of promoting healthy eating, community engagement and environmental sustainability while focusing on improving social cohesion and food security in the Lexington community and campus through student-led service. To achieve this goal, The Campus Kitchen plans to repurpose excess food from UK Dining, UK South Farm, other on-campus dining facilities and off-campus restaurants and grocery stores to reduce the environmental food print of discarded food in the community. Gleaned food is used to prepare, cook and deliver well-balanced group meals with older adults through an already established relationship with Lexington Housing Authority. In addition, groceries which meet the dietary guidelines will be provided to home-bound older adults once a week for 36 weeks. Lastly, the UK students will spend 15 minutes visiting the home-bound adults in effort to foster relationships and provide companionship, nutrition education, recipes and cooking tips.  

The 2015-2016 Campus Kitchen at UK is led by an executive committee comprised of eight undergraduate students who manage a team of nine additional student shift captains. The shift captains lead the recovery, cooking and delivery of meals during the week. Last year’s organization led to involvement from over 200 volunteers including both UK undergraduate and graduate students from diverse areas of study and local high school students. Highlights of The Campus Kitchen’s work throughout 2014 and 2015 include recovering 2,190 pounds of prepared food, receiving 940 pounds of donated food and gathering 553 pounds of fresh produce. The program served 2,721 meals. Evaluation from older adult recipients indicated a 30% increase in knowledge of healthy meals, a 52% decrease in social isolation and a 45% increase in consumption of fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, lean meat, whole grains or water. 

Also in November, The Campus Kitchen received funding from the Student Government Association to support the Martin Luther King Academy Program for this year. The funding will contribute to fostering opportunities to teach students about proper nutrition.  

Volunteering for The Campus Kitchen is open to all students. Information, as well as sign up slots, can be found online at http://vhub.at/ckuk. No cooking experience is required. 

Author: Cara Croley
Contact: Cara Croley, cara.croley@uky.edu
Terms: DHN