The Campus Kitchens Project
The mission of The Campus Kitchens Project is to use service as a tool to:
- Strengthen Bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in our community.
- Empower Minds by providing leadership and service learning opportunities to students, and educational benefits to adults, seniors, children, and families in need.
- Build Communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partnerships among students, social service agencies, businesses and schools.
The Campus Kitchens Project is an emerging leader in community service for students and resourceful anti-hunger programs for communities around the country.
What we do is kind of a no-brainer. We know there are people in each community who need nourishing meals. And, we know that every college campus has unserved food in its dining halls and brilliant students in its classrooms. So we put them all together. We empower thousands of students each year to recycle food from their cafeterias, turn these donations into nourishing meals, and deliver those meals (along with a friendly visit) to those who need it most in communities across the country. Then, we open up that on-campus kitchen space to teach culinary skills to unemployed men and women, who in turn teach the college students a thing or two about poverty, stereotypes, and what it takes to make it these days.
So far, we're at 25 schools around the country: big schools and small schools; rural and urban; colleges and high schools (well, one high school).
The best part is that students run the whole show. They plan the menus, get the food, run the cooking shifts, organize the drivers, and teach culinary skills to unemployed adults. Then, they keep track of all of the paperwork (so we know everything's being done safely), organize fundraisers, develop curriculum, and recruit new students to get involved. They accomplish an incredible amount of work every day. And then, they take those skills into their jobs when they graduate from school.
For more information please visit The Campus Kitchens Project.
The Open Table Movement
Open Table acts as a team of life specialists and supporters, who work together with the person/family being helped to overcome the obstacles that can hinder self-sufficiency. Those obstacles can include limited access to health care, housing, employment, legal matters and education, to name just a few.
Breaking down the barriers is what Open Table members do best, and their connections and services extend into the following areas:
- Health Care
- Mental Health
- Life Skills
- Occupational Support
- Personal Property
- Raising and Managing Families
How Open Table Works To End Homelessness
Open Table members, working with the individual or family being helped, create a step-by-step economic stability and wholeness plan. The goals are attained through an ongoing management process, as well as by drawing on resources from the congregation, personal networks and solutions already created by other Open Table groups.
Meetings are held on a weekly basis in order to track progress and address concerns. An Open Table program is usually eight to twelves months in length with on-going connection afterward.
Financial assistance may be necessary to hasten a homeless family's exit from a shelter into safe housing. A contingency fund should also be created to provide funding in case of job loss or another unplanned event that endangers self-sufficiency.
Each person helped by Open Table makes a commitment to "pay forward" by witnessing their journey in presentations to other congregations and organizations. Their voices help expand Open Table and, as a result, more people are helped.
Open Table not only transforms the lives of the people it helps, it changes everyone involved in the program, from members of the Table to entire congregations. There's nothing more extraordinary a congregation can do than welcome a homeless family into its midst, give them the support they need, and help them live a life that God has intended for all God's children.
For more information please visit The Open Table.