Since 2001, NUCuisine, the Northwestern Dining program has been partnering with the local chapter of the non-profit group, The Campus Kitchens Project, The Campus Kitchens at Northwestern University (CKNU). Campus Kitchens is an organization that partners with high schools, colleges and universities to recover food from local dining halls. The unused food is then turned into meals that help feed the less fortunate in the local community. Last year, NUCuisine contributed roughly 80% of the total food collected by CKNU, donating nearly 25,000 pounds of food to help feed people throughout the Evanston and Chicago land area.
“Knowing that we are able to serve such a substantial role in giving back to our community is absolutely incredible,” said Steve Mangan, the Sodexo resident district manager for the Northwestern Dining program. “Our next step is to increase that number by continuing to educate Northwestern students on the importance of food waste reduction.”
Jonathan Eisen, the Program Coordinator for CKNU, reiterated the positive relationship between the two organizations. “CKNU’s partnership with NUCuisine/Sodexo goes way beyond the meal. With their (NUCuisine) support we are able to provide nearly 600 healthy and nutritious meals for our individual and non-profit clients each and every week, ” said Eisen.
The partnership has also fostered some exciting new programs, including a nutrition education program for almost 75 children at after-school programs in Evanston. NUCuisine and Sodexo have also supported the National Campus Kitchens Conference, which wil be help in early April of this year on the campus of Northwestern University.
“This will be an even greater opportunity to highlight the strong working relationship between CKNU and NUCuisine/Sodexo to other campus kitchen groups throughout the country” said Eisen.
In addition, the partnership with CKNU aligns with Sodexo’s STOP Hunger Initiative, which was launched in 1996. Through volunteers, shared expertise, food donations, and financial donations, the STOP Hunger Initiative aims to change the fact that nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and malnutrition every day.
As we enter into a new year, these two organizations are exploring new and creative ways to increase the amount of food that can be donated. Also, despite the significant number of people in the community struggling to provide the proper amount of food for themselves and their families, the issue goes largely unnoticed by the community. Both groups aim to increase awareness for the problem over next year.
Article by: Maya Voelk, Sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing