Campus Kitchen wins $25,000

UVM’s Campus Kitchen received the first place prize of a $25,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation in the first ever Campus Community Service Challenge.Campus Kitchen works with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf to alleviate hunger in the Burlington area, a consultant for the Newman’s Own Foundation said.Sarah Heim, the club adviser for UVM’s Campus Kitchen, is hopeful that the grant will allow UVM’s programs to expand and maximize their impact in the community.”It will give students the opportunity to participate in more educational experiences and national conferences, which will help them more effectively lead Campus Kitchens,” she said.Most of the grant money is already allocated for specific program areas, Heim said.Half of the total $25,000 grant will go directly to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf to help fund basic operations and staff, she said.A portion of the remaining funds will support the Gleaning Project, which is in partnership with The Intervale Center and provides locally grown organic food for the weekly meals and nutrition classes, Heim said.The grant is also going to help tremendously with nutrition and cooking classes this summer, Danielle Tompkins, nutrition coordinator for Campus Kitchens, said.Five nutrition students completing their practicum requirement for dietetics this year are teaching the classes, she said.”The classes teach clients how to prepare a meal, as well as talk about the nutritional components of the food,” she said.The nutrition and cooking classes currently take place at five sites around the Burlington area: The O’Brien Center, The LUND Center, CareNet, Saint Joesph’s House and the Boys & Girls Club,” she said.The students will be able to teach more classes this summer and expand from five to seven locations with this grant, she said.Another portion will fund two full-time interns to work with Campus Kitchen from May to August, she said.”The interns will lend additional staff support to both the Winooski Department of Recreation and The Intervale Center to help both nonprofits with their summer food programs,” Heim said.The grant will also be used for groceries so that class participants can prepare the food at home, Heim said.”Clients will receive a grocery bag full of vegetables after each class so they can practice preparing the recipe they just learned at home with their families,” she said.Necessities such as appliances will also be purchased, Tompkins said.”For example, [one of the locations] does not have a stove so we will be able to purchase a hotplate to aid in cooking classes,” she said.Heim said that while she is excited about the grant for Campus Kitchens, she hopes the money will have the greatest benefit on our community partners and their clients.”Each meal counts, even if it is just a temporary fix to a much larger societal problem,” Heim said.