Auburn’s Campus Kitchens Project recognized as Kitchen of the Year

Published: April 03, 2017
Updated: June 21, 2017
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The Campus Kitchens Project at Auburn University has been named Kitchen of the Year, a national honor presented at the fourth annual Food Waste and Hunger Summit.

According to The Campus Kitchens Project, the award honors the chapter that excels not only in safe and efficient operations, but in the many components that support operations, including community partnerships, participation in the in Campus Kitchens Project network, volunteer engagement and more.

Auburn was among eight individuals or campus chapters recognized by the national organization at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, March 24-25. Walsh hosted this year’s summit along with the 12th annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit. More than 300 students attended the combined events, dubbed Summit Squared.

Hallie Nelson, past president of Auburn’s Campus Kitchens Project, credited her fellow students for the recognition. She said the chapter’s leadership team set out to fill volunteer shifts and create a new committee structure based on outreach, public relations, nutrition education and food safety and operations.

"With more volunteers and 50 new committee members, we are able to accomplish so much more in fighting food waste and hunger in Auburn," she said. "We grew from a team of 15 members to a team of 30 shift leaders. This allowed us to significantly increase the amount of food coming into the kitchen and break the barrier of 1,000 pounds of food in one month. Now we consistently recover 1,000 pounds each month, even reaching 2,000 pounds twice."

Students were able to recover more food by collaborating with fraternities and picking up food from campus dining halls more often. With more food to distribute, Auburn was able to serve eight additional community organizations in the past year. Students picked up 14,752 pounds of food and turned it into 12,145 nutritionally balanced meals.

"All of this growth was made possible through the hard work of our student leaders," explained Nelson. "Receiving the national award for Kitchen of the Year is an honor for all of us and we were excited to be recognized for what we have achieved.

"With a new operational structure, we have set ourselves up to achieve and expand even more in 2017."