Feed the Hungry, Build Leadership Skills at Campus Kitchen of UMass Boston

Colleen Locke | December 16, 2016
Feed the Hungry, Build Leadership Skills at Campus Kitchen of UMass Boston

Volunteers Needed Year-Round for On-Campus Community Kitchen

The fall semester might be drawing to a close, but work serving the greater university community continues year-round at Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston.

The Campus Kitchens Project is a national hunger relief organization that started a chapter at UMass Boston in 2010. It is a student-powered effort, with volunteers identifying what food can be recovered from the dining hall, local restaurants, and supermarkets; preparing that food during regular cooking shifts; and then delivering the food to senior and youth centers. Two Campus Kitchen employees assigned to the campus provide support for the volunteer staff.

Working out of a kitchen space shared with on-campus food provider Sodexo, Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston staffs a community meal in Somerville once a month, and has teamed up with U-ACCESS, which staffs a food pantry on campus for UMass Boston students, to offer hot meals.

Rebecca Driscoll, the program coordinator for Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston, says the organization’s work isn’t just limited to preparing, transporting, and serving meals. The organization also offers a nutrition education curriculum for partners like the Walter Denney Youth Center and Talent Search (formerly Project REACH) and hands our recipes. Every meal served has a protein, a starch, and a vegetable.

The program gives students valuable experience, Driscoll says.

“You’re volunteering your time, but you’re learning about food safety, sanitation, you’re learning about building community partnerships and relationships,” she said. “If you decide to be in nutrition education, you can learn how to teach and facilitate a curriculum. You can learn about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and SNAP outreach.”

Driscoll says volunteers can either make a weekly commitment or take a cooking or delivery shift as their schedules allow. As they get more comfortable, they can take on leadership roles. And there’s no experience required.

All the shifts are posted online, so a volunteer can say, ‘I’m really busy this month, but I’d like to be involved somehow, so I can go this Wednesday to this half-hour delivery, and that’s how I can be involved,” Driscoll said.

During the winter break, Driscoll is hoping that staff and faculty will step up and take cooking and delivery shifts. Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston also gets volunteers from the nonprofit Boston Cares.

For more information about volunteering, contact Rebecca Driscoll at rdriscoll@campuskitchens.org or 617.287.7909.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.

Tags: campus kitchen , community , community engagement , student leadership , volunteer opportunity , volunteering

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