Campus Kitchen Volunteers Plan Thanksgiving Outreach to Community
The Campus Kitchen Student Leadership Team has been busy preparing for their annual “TurkeyPalooza.” Through this event the Campus Kitchen will provide a full Thanksgiving meal for the program’s roughly 100 clients. Because it is a full meal, the amount of food served is more than double the amount of food in weekly distributions, and Campus Kitchen has called on UNK departments and community entities for food donations. The meal will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, a vegetable, rolls, pumpkin pie, and cranberries.
Program volunteers will begin cooking the TurkeyPalooza meal on Sunday, November 23rd at 8:00 a.m. The preparation will take most of the day. The team works to make this meal special, from decorating the delivery boxes to rolling out pie crusts, demonstrating the level of care and commitment they have invested in this program. Deliveries will take place on Monday, November 24th beginning at 3:30 p.m.
The UNK Campus Kitchen is an entirely student-run program, with Dr. Peter Longo providing faculty support and sponsorship. The leadership team is coordinated by Cody Waldman (undergraduate student) and Justine Derr (graduate student) and includes Diana Morgan, Amy Neel, Jenna Rycek, and Lindsey Wendt.
Derr views Campus Kitchen as a way to educate the community about the homeless and hungry in our city. “Kearney is a unique place. It is not a large city, so we tend to overlook the needs. Just because we don't necessarily have people sleeping on the sidewalks doesn't mean homelessness doesn't exist.” Derr points out that approximately 4,754 residents of Buffalo County live below the poverty line. This includes rural homeless who face domestic violence, go without food or heat, and live in substandard housing, often with more people than the space can accommodate. For Derr, the fulfilling aspect of this program is the opportunity to deliver meals to those in need. She has clients who rely on the Campus Kitchen meal delivery as their only food for the week.
Campus Kitchen welcomes volunteers to help with meal delivery. The volunteer team cooks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Chartwells kitchen, and they deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Ideally, they need 10 volunteers to cover the five delivery routes, so they are always looking for help. They especially invite faculty and staff to volunteer for delivery routes. Derr said, “We love to see UNK faculty and staff involved. We need their vocal support for the program, and their involvement serves as a model for UNK students to be involved also.”