Replicating DC Central Kitchen’s model in big cities and small towns across America isn’t easy. That’s why every summer, we bring the students in charge of leading our dozens of Campus Kitchens to Washington, DC for three days of intensive training. This year’s Campus Kitchens Project Boot Camp doubled in size due to student interest, and equipped these young leaders with everything they needed to know to run effective Campus Kitchens in their communities.
This year’s gathering took place August 7-9 here in Washington, DC at Gonzaga College High School. Presenters from across the country led training sessions on food safety, grant writing, nutrition education, local partnership development, and program evaluation to help individual Campus Kitchens become thriving community-based organizations. Just as importantly, leaders of DC Central Kitchen challenged students to ‘go beyond the meal’ and develop their own innovative efforts to address the root cause of hunger: poverty.
Students and Campus Kitchens Project staff were joined by our new Alumni Corps, consisting of 10 all-star Campus Kitchen alumni who will serve as advisors to our Campus Kitchens. This new support model will allow us to continue The Campus Kitchens Project’s rapid growth. There are 63 Campus Kitchens fighting hunger and food waste across the United States, with plans to open dozens more each year.
Even though students are encouraged to customize their Campus Kitchen to reflect the needs and opportunities of their communities, every location is part of a national movement to combat hunger and food waste. Each year, our Campus Kitchens collectively prevent the waste of a million pounds of food while providing formative leadership experiences to 30,000 students. And as a program of DC Central Kitchen, The Campus Kitchens Project is taking our commitment to developing sustainable solutions that affirm the dignity and contributions of those we serve to a national scale.