Baylor Campus Kitchen Volunteer Speaks at D.C. Conference
- Baylor Campus Kitchen leaders Nathania Santoso (left) and Madison Stewart (right) meet with a summer staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz to discuss food insecurity and spread awareness of the work their organization does to combat it.
- Baylor senior Madison Stewart gives a presentation on community gardening at the 2017 Campus Kitchens Project Boot Camp.
- Baylor football players and staff members volunteered their time to help plant and harvest fresh vegetables from the Baylor community garden in January. (Baylor University)
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 17, 2017) – Of the more than 60 universities with a Campus Kitchen, Baylor University was one of only two schools asked to lead a workshop at the 2017 Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) Boot Camp last week in Washington, D.C.
CKP is a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering students to fight hunger in their communities while reducing food waste on their campuses. The annual CKP Boot Camp provides three days of intensive training to leaders of established Campus Kitchens and to schools considering starting their own.
Madison Stewart, a senior environmental science major and manager of Baylor’s community garden, led two workshops on community gardening for the boot camp. She addressed common problems with maintaining a garden and reassured other volunteers that a garden can thrive on any campus, regardless of climate.
“The Baylor community garden is one of the largest and most developed ones out of all the Campus Kitchen Projects, so a lot of people were very receptive to what I was saying,” Stewart said.
Baylor’s Campus Kitchen began in 2008, but the Community Garden was not opened until three years later. The garden’s maintenance is a collaborative effort between Campus Kitchen, graduate students, nutrition and environmental science classes, student-athletes and nearly 100 other yearly volunteers.
While in D.C., Stewart was invited to Capitol Hill along with one of Baylor’s kitchen managers, senior Nathania Santoso. They met with summer staffers for Rep. Bill Flores and Sen. Ted Cruz to discuss food insecurity and spread awareness of the work CKP does to combat it.
Baylor’s Campus Kitchen is run exclusively by student volunteers who lead weekly shifts to combine unused food recovered from dining halls with fresh produce from the garden. The volunteers then deliver finished meals to local nonprofits, including the Salvation Army, the Mission Waco youth center, the Cove and the Waco Family Abuse Center.
Stewart said she learned valuable tips from other Campus Kitchens at the boot camp about increasing social media presence and strengthening relationships with volunteers that she plans to discuss with the other members of Baylor’s CKP executive team.
“One of my favorite quotes from the conference was, ‘Food does not end hunger.’ People will still be hungry the next day if all we have is a temporary solution,” Stewart said.
Baylor’s Campus Kitchen won the “Going beyond the Meal” award in 2016 for providing long-lasting solutions to the hunger cycle. The organization provides regular cooking demonstrations at the Waco farmer’s market and hosts events like “Roots Day” to educate the Waco community on nutrition.
Baylor senior Rebecca Peirce, director of Baylor’s CKP, said she hopes to continue forming partnerships with local restaurants and nonprofits to increase the organization’s community involvement.
Last year, the kitchen formed a partnership with Panera Bread to recover unsold bread and pastries from their restaurant every day.
“Food insecurity is something you might not think is present in your community, but it’s a prevalent problem all over the world,” Pierce said. “You shouldn’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. There’s enough food in the world to feed everyone; it’s a problem of learning how to distribute that food and get it to the people who need it.”
by Kassidy Woytek , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.