Athens, Ga. – On Oct. 4, the University of Georgia Office of Service-Learning will officially join The Campus Kitchens Project and launch Campus Kitchen at UGA, a student organization that provides free, healthful meals to area senior citizens by using donated food that would otherwise go to waste. With the program’s official status, UGA becomes one of 33 schools that are part of the national program and the first of its kind in Georgia.
The Campus Kitchen launch will take place Thursday from 1-2 p.m. at the Athens Community Council on Aging, located at 135 Hoyt Street. The program is free and open to the public and will feature presentations by families served by Campus Kitchen, along with Robert Egger, founder and president The Campus Kitchens Project nationally.
“This is a way students can have an impact and help hungry senior citizens right here in Athens,” said Sarah Jackson, Office of Service-Learning Campus Kitchen coordinator. “Volunteers can get involved in so many ways, from working in the garden to actually preparing meals for seniors.”
At each Campus Kitchen nationwide, students lead efforts to combat food waste and hunger by collecting surplus food from community gardens, restaurants and grocery stores and transforming it into healthy meals. The Campus Kitchen at UGA is the first one to focus exclusively on fighting food insecurity among senior citizens-a serious problem in Georgia, which ranks seventh among the worst states for senior hunger. A partnership with the Athens Community Council on Aging will help the organization distribute hundreds of meals a month to seniors in need of meals-particularly to those raising their grandchildren.
“ACCA is proud to partner with The Campus Kitchens Project in an effort to end senior hunger in our community,” said Jennie Deese, CEO of the Athens Community Council on Aging. “It is amazing to see what a creative community effort can do to impact the lives of those who are dealing with poverty and a lack of healthy food options.”
The effort that will now become Campus Kitchen at UGA began in 2011 as a project in a service-learning course taught by Cecilia Herles, assistant director of the Institute for Women’s Studies at UGA. In service-learning courses, students participate in activities that allow them to apply course content to important community issues.
“Through Campus Kitchen, students who are studying food issues can put their academic knowledge to work in our local community through projects that alleviate hunger and reduce food waste,” said Shannon Wilder, director of service-learning at UGA. “What they have already accomplished before becoming an official part of The Campus Kitchens Project is impressive. It’s inspiring to see how our students are taking real, tangible steps to improve and strengthen our community.”
Over the last year, more than 300 UGA students have collected almost 20,000 pounds of surplus food and transformed it into 3,900 meals for area senior citizens and children. Food preparation and cooking takes place in commercial kitchen space donated by Jittery Joe’s Coffee and Talmage Terrace Lanier Garden. Food donors include UGArden, Alpha Gamma Delta, Jimmy John’s, Trader Joe’s, the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel, the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank and the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.
To view a video about the UGA Campus Kitchen project, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt5Y0PhQAYE&feature=plcp.
About the Campus Kitchens Project
Founded in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project is a national organization that enlists student volunteers on 33 university and high school campuses to fight hunger in their communities. By managing a busy community kitchen, students learn organizational leadership skills and become part of a national CKP alumni network. Each Campus Kitchen goes beyond meals to promote poverty solutions, implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education and hold food policy events. Support from the Walmart Foundation, Sodexo, General Mills and the Corporation for National and Community Service helps CKP continue to grow. To learn more about The Campus Kitchens Project, see http://www.campuskitchens.org/.
UGA Office of Service-Learning
The University of Georgia Office of Service-Learning supports the development of academic courses in which students apply classroom knowledge to community needs in order to enhance their academic and civic learning and contribute to the public good. The OSL is a partnership between the Offices of the Vice President for Instruction and the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. For more information on the Office of Service-Learning, see http://servicelearning.uga.edu/.