Campus Kitchen Brings Food to Auburn

Featured article in the Auburn Plainsman written by Kailey Miller on 1/31/13

Hunger is a growing problem in Auburn and its surrounding communities, but Auburn students have taken the issue into their own hands and are fighting against it with Campus Kitchens.

Campus Kitchens was started by a hunger studies class. The team gets leftover food from places on campus including Foy, the Student Center, Terrell and the Village dining hall to distribute to places throughout the community.

“We serve dinner-like meals, but we serve them at different times of the day and they aren’t hot for sanitary reasons and different guidelines we have,” said Emily Scammell, co-founder and president of Campus Kitchens.

Campus Kitchens is a student led program that is run purely by volunteers. The team serves anywhere from 150 to 250 meals per week.

The food is distributed based on the number of people in a family, but when they have extra food they allow people to take as much as they want.

“This one woman came in to the food pantry at Auburn and she took home four boxes and you could tell that she was so happy,” said Nicole Nabozniak, a Campus Kitchens volunteer. “She was expecting to get maybe one box of food when she came in but she left with four.”

The team delivers to the Auburn United Methodist Church food pantry, East House, His Place and retirement homes.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays the team gathers the food from the dining halls and on Thursdays they cook the food and assemble it into the take out boxes. Friday is when the food is distributed.

“There are a lot of families in Lee County who really need food assistance who might be single mothers or people who are working a low paying job and really need that extra help,” Scammell said.

As Campus Kitchens is growing the need for volunteers and extra hands is too. The staff has about 40 volunteers, but they are hoping to gain more.

Campus Kitchens is sponsored by the Office of Public Service.

“Campus Kitchens has been around for the last couple of years and it was kind of the brain child of the hunger studies minor about four years ago,” said Jennifer Commander, program assistant of Campus Kitchens. “I anticipate it growing and continuing to grow over the next few years.”

Recently, Campus Kitchens has received positive publicity that the team hopes will influence more students to volunteer.

“We are just now getting a lot of attention its awesome and sometimes I don’t feel like we even deserve it,” Scammell said. “It has been pretty hard especially in the beginning getting things running and keeping a steady supply of volunteers and leadership members.”

To Nabozniak said the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with Campus Kitchens has been seeing the people that they serve have a positive outlook on life.

“I saw people laughing and giggling and they didn’t seem to have a worry in the world even though they were there to get food because they can’t afford it any other way,” Nabozniak said.

Many of the people who are served are older and have trouble going out to get their groceries or are retired and don’t have a steady income.

“The meal provided by Campus Kitchens may be the only thing that they eat for the entire week or weekend,” Nabozniak said. “I saw one of the people who seems to be well known at the United Methodist Church and he looked like he was going to a janitorial job afterwards. He joked around with us a lot like he had known us for years, but then right when he got his food he almost started crying because he was so happy.”

Last Updated: November 11, 2013