Lee University hosted the Campus Kitchens Project National Conference. CKP is a national movement in higher educational institutions to provide meals to those members of the community in need.
The national conference welcomed representation from various high schools and colleges, including Baylor, Southern Adventist University, University of Massachusetts (Boston), and Washington and Lee University. The event afforded students an opportunity to join CKP representatives in sharing ideas about social justice while developing organizational relationships and volunteer initiatives between schools and the community.
“If students engage in well-designed service-learning, their learning should be enhanced as well,” said Lee’s Vice President of Student Development Dr. Mike Hayes.
Thirty-three institutions, including Lee, presently host a campus kitchen that serves their community. Their mission is to “empower the next generation of leaders to implement innovative models for combating hunger, developing food systems, and helping communities help themselves.”
Robert Egger, president and founder of DC Central Kitchen, encouraged the audience to “fundamentally, (let’s) change the whole thing around. Many of the problems we face are too big for charity. What I want to do is start the conversation. Never underestimate the power of the impact you can make.”
Mr. Egger spoke about the idea of cascading leadership: “Who is coming behind you? How do you get people to step over the line and do things that are frightening? That’s what campus kitchen does, is to try and help people to be brave.”
Mike Curtin, CEO of the Central Kitchen, also spoke on maintaining motivation of its members, the value of community, fostering relationships within that community and focusing on the task of getting healthy food options to impoverished areas.
Lee’s CKP meets at the Leonard Center Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m.
For more information about Lee’s CKP, contact Americorps VISTA Stephen Van Gorp: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about DC Central Kitchen’s mission and successes, visit http://www.dccentralkitchen.org