Happy Birthday, Campus Kitchens!
The Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University celebrated its fifteenth birthday on October 3. Instituted at SLU in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project now exists at 53 schools throughout the country, with each program running its own kitchen. Since the program’s beginning, 6,141,997 pounds of food have been saved from waste to create and deliver 2,923,880 meals.
At SLU, students run the Campus Kitchen from start to finish. Led by experienced shift leaders, students coordinate food recovery from on-campus dining locations and grocery stores. They plan and prepare meals, then deliver them to food insecure people in the St. Louis community.
Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday of the year for the Campus Kitchen at SLU, thanks to Turkeypalooza – a major fundraiser and food delivery project. Throughout November, Campus Kitchen collects Thanksgiving staples. Students then create Thanksgiving meals for clients, allowing food-insecure people to participate fully in a heavily food-based holiday. Because Campus Kitchen only uses donated food, it doesn’t often get a chance to give clients a choice about what they’re eating, said Jenny Bird, program manager of the Campus Kitchen at SLU.
“But at the holidays that’s what we get to do,” she said. “We give them the full Thanksgiving experience.” Non-perishables collected over the month of November also stock Campus Kitchen’s shelves for the rest of the year. In 2016 students collected more than 1,000 pounds of turkey and other foods, producing 400 fully-prepared meals and 109 baskets of uncooked food for clients to prepare as they like.
Students, faculty or families interested in helping with Turkeypalooza can drop off foods and other kitchen items at Campus Kitchen’s workspace in Reinert Hall by November 17, or call 977-3881 to schedule an on-campus pickup. A full list of suggested items is available on The Campus Kitchen at SLU Facebook page, but anything will be accepted. Members of the SLU community can sign up for volunteer shifts to pick up, cook or deliver food throughout the year on the SLU Groups page or on Facebook. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.