Campus Kitchen Elon University opens, offers new avenues for students to volunteer

Opening of Campus Kitchen Elon University hosted at College Coffee

Marlena Chertock
FEB. 8, 2011

Faculty made lasagna, the first Campus Kitchen Elon University meal, to commemorate the opening of the program. Photo by Marlena Chertock.

Professors spread tomato sauce and cheese onto pasta as the first meal of a new organization at Elon University on Feb. 8, 2011. Students and faculty gathered in 1889 in Colonnades at College Coffee from 9:40 to 10:20 a.m. to celebrate Elon becoming a host site for Campus Kitchen.

President Leo Lambert, Vice President of Student Life Smith Jackson and other faculty prepared the first meal of Campus Kitchen Elon University (CKEU), spreading sauce, pasta and cheese into tin pans to make lasagna, while students wearing red aprons reading “Campus Kitchen at Elon University” clapped and cheered.

Graphic by Marlena Chertock.

By opening CKEU, Elon is joining several other schools where students donate untouched food to those in need in the community.

Student director junior Amber Mathis called CKEU the “perfect marriage” of the Elon values of volunteering, service and sustainability.

Mathis started researching the Campus Kitchen program two years ago when she was working at the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. During her research, she said she felt strongly that Campus Kitchen should be brought to Elon.

CKEU will operate in downstairs Colonnades where students will prepare and deliver food once a week. Food will be cooked Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and delivered Thursday mornings.

CKEU will take four volunteers for the cooking shifts and two for delivery shifts, in addition to having two student leaders at a time.

The program will allow students to lead peers in preparing food and delivering it those in need in the community. Campus Kitchen exemplifies sustainability by using unused food that would be thrown out to make new meals and donate it.

There are seven cooking and four delivery teams involved at CKEU.

Student leaders spent fall semester and winter term training.

Senior Jenny Schnaak is one of the cooking shift leaders. She will work with other student volunteers to take untouched food that would be wasted from dining halls and donated food from local farm to cook and deliver it downtown to shelters and Allied Churches.

Schnaak will oversee volunteers and decide what will be on the menu. She’ll organizes jobs for volunteers, such as chopping, mixing or making rice.

“Say Colonnades expected to feed 400 students and only fed 200,” Schnaak said. “There’s unserved food. We’ll recycle it. We’ll re-serve, repackage and reheat it.”

CKEU will partner with Allied Churches in Burlington and several farms in the area. Elon partnered with Allied Churches for this project because there is a strong partnership already in place, according to Mathis.

“I hope that in a few years we can expand our partnerships,” Mathis said. “But Allied Churches have been a really perfect partner for this.”

Program director Holly Anderson called Mathis and the Kernodle Center the machines behind CKEU.

Lambert said Campus Kitchen reflects the soul and the spirit of Elon.

He called CKEU a teachable moment for undergraduate students. It will offer powerful ways  for students to make a difference in the community, Lambert said.

There are families who are dependent on Allied Churches and other assistance programs, Lambert said.

Lambert also mentioned RecyleMania as a way for students to be responsible citizens. RecycleMania is a 10-week competition among college and university recycling programs.

Starting Feb. 16, students can volunteer at CKEU.

The next step will be bringing in volunteers, learning how to can, working on the organic Redbud Farm in Burlington and delivering food to people in the community, Anderson said.

“This project is about giving back,” Lambert said. “It is about recognizing that we are part of a broader community, that we don’t live in a walled community and that we have responsibility to others who live outside the borders of Elon.”

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About Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock's first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, and WTOP. Her poems and fiction has appeared in The Deaf Poets Society, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts.

One response to “Campus Kitchen Elon University opens, offers new avenues for students to volunteer”

  1. Amber Mathis says :

    Marlena! I love this article! Thanks so much for being there this morning and doing such great reporting!

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