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UW-Eau Claire Ceremony to Mark
Official Launch of Campus Kitchens Project

RELEASED: Feb. 10, 2009

Campus Kitchens Project logoEAU CLAIRE — Beginning this week, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student volunteers will join thousands of other students across the United States as they turn the unserved food from their school dining halls into nutritious meals and deliver them to low-income children, families and seniors in their local communities as part of the Campus Kitchens Project.

A short ceremony will mark the launch of the program at UW-Eau Claire from 11 to 11:50 a.m. Feb. 12 in the Tamarack Room of Davies Center. Speaking at the ceremony will be Erin Yudchitz, regional development director for the national Campus Kitchens organization; UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich; Donald Mowry, director of the UW-Eau Claire Center for Service-Learning; senior Lindsey Johnson, Wisconsin Rapids, president of the Campus Kitchens Project student group; and a member of university's Campus Kitchens advisory board.

Mowry has been advising AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer Dylan Thomas, who has been coordinating and leading the project to make UW-Eau Claire a Campus Kitchen school. Thomas graduated from UW-Eau Claire in May 2008 with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and health science.

"We are starting slow, but we plan to build as we establish a process and routine," Mowry said. "My guess is that we will be doing deliveries twice a week for a while after our first week."

Although Mowry's role as director of UW-Eau Claire's Center for Service-Learning made him a natural to be an adviser for the project, he stressed that the program is a student-powered one. Students run the entire program, acquiring many new skills in the process. They plan menus, get the food, run the cooking shifts, organize drivers, do the paperwork, organize fundraisers and recruit new students to keep the program running, Mowry said.

"Our students were eager to get involved in this project because it makes so much sense and because it involves a mutually beneficial partnership between the students, schools, local social service agencies and businesses," Mowry said, noting that another aspect of the CKP is that the campus sites can eventually expand to provide nutrition education to the meal recipients and culinary training to unemployed men and women.

"Christian Wise, Sodexho Food Services general manager on campus, has also been instrumental in supporting this project and making it a reality," Mowry said. "He and the CKP advisory board and our student volunteers all will meet with Yudchitz when she visits campus Thursday and Friday."

The Campus Kitchens Project, begun in 2001, is now operating at more than 20 schools around the country. According to the Campus Media Group, which is partnering with CKP to inspire more students to get involved in hunger relief, during its first six years of operations, CKP utilized 650,000 pounds of food to provide 590,000 meals. Those meals were prepared and delivered by 11,000 students who donated 150,000 service hours. During that time, 141 adults also graduated from the CKP Culinary Job Training Program.

The Campus Kitchens Project at UW-Eau Claire receives support and funding from the Sodexo Foundation, the not-for-profit charitable arm of the integrated food service and facilities management company that provides dining services for the university. Generous support for the Campus Kitchen Projects at UW-Eau Claire also comes from the Office of the Provost; the colleges of Business and Education and Human Sciences; University Centers; and Housing and Residence Life.

More information about CKP is available on their Web site.

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NW/AH

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