Historic collaboration at Wake Forest empowers students to feed Winston-Salem's needy
October 27, 2006
Beyond boiling Ramen noodles or microwaving popcorn, many students do not spend much time cooking. But, this fall, dozens of Wake Forest University students are donning aprons three times a week to make healthy and nutritious meals for the needy in the community.
The students volunteer at the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University, a food recycling program affiliated with The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), a national organization. The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University opened in September when the university’s previous program, Homerun, officially integrated with the national organization.
Wake Forest will celebrate the new program with a kick-off event at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Information Systems building cafeteria. Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch will speak at the event. Student cooking demonstrations at the event will showcase the kinds of foods usually provided in Campus Kitchens meals.
Karen Stephan Borchert and Jessica Jackson Shortall, both graduates of Wake Forest’s class of 2000, started the university’s Homerun project in 1999. Together, they developed the original local project into The Campus Kitchens Project, a network of community-based kitchens located on college and high school campuses that uses food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities.
Borchert, who serves as director of the organization, said that as a result of the support provided throughout the years by the Wake Forest community, the project has made significant strides since it started in a basement kitchen in Collins Residence Hall.
“It began more as a hobby than anything that we thought would translate into a career,” Borchert said. “We often talk about Wake Forest as a place that fosters entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. Our careers and life paths are directly related to the opportunities that Wake Forest encourages each of its students to take.”
Borchert, who has been featured with Shortall in People magazine, will attend the event and will be available to speak with the media.
Wake Forest, the tenth school in the nation and the first in North Carolina to join The Campus Kitchens Project, uses a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the university, The Campus Kitchens Project and ARAMARK Higher Education, the university’s dining services provider, to accomplish the program’s dual goals of hunger relief and leadership development.
Student volunteers of the program prepare about 100 meals per week in kitchen space provided by ARAMARK. Meals are prepared using a combination of food donated by ARAMARK and food purchased at wholesale prices through a local vendor. The ARAMARK Charitable Fund also provided a grant to the project. At full capacity, it is estimated that Wake Forest students will be able to provide 300 meals a week to the needy in Winston-Salem.
The group, working with the university’s Volunteer Service Corps, has recruited about 100 students who prepare meals in the kitchen in the IS building. The meals are delivered Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from 4-6 p.m. to local residents in coordination with four agencies, including AIDS Care, Children’s Home, Prodigals Community and Ronald McDonald House.
The coordinator for The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University is Will Clarke, who was hired through the AmeriCorps/VISTA program. A Web site for the local project is available at http://www.ckwfu.org. The Web site for The Campus Kitchens Project is at http://campuskitchens.org/.