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LWC Campus Kitchen aims to serve food insecure in region
The Pines at Lindsey Wilson, 275 Country Club Road, Columbia, KY will provide a home base for the program. The program has widespread report already: A $6,000 grant from AARP, support from the college's dining hall and local restaurants and from the community garden. Bonners Scholars at LWC are organizers, with full support of the Lindsey Wilson College administration.
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News from Lindsey Wilson College
COLUMBIA, KY - Thanks to a new program at Lindsey Wilson College, the city of Columbia has an additional source to help the food insecure. The Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson College (CKLWC), which launched today September 16, will provide free meals to food insecure members of the community on a weekly basis.
Natalie Vickous, Bonner Program Coordinator, got the idea to bring a Campus Kitchen to LWC because of an email she received from the Bonner Foundation.
"We receive weekly updates from the Bonner Foundation, and on this particular week I noticed a section discussing how colleges could apply for a grant for a campus kitchen," said Vickous. "It sounded intriguing so I checked into what it would take to make it happen here. Our students in Bonner have been involved with Feeding America in Elizabethtown, Ky. and are passionate about food justice. It became a situation where it seemed like it would make more sense to do that here in Columbia."
Vickous learned The Campus Kitchens Project focuses on using excess or leftover food that normally gets thrown out by restaurants or cafeterias as a main source of creating meals for the food insecure. It became clear to Vickous and others that one of the college's sources could be leftover food from the college's Roberta D. Cranmer Dining Center. Vickous took what she learned and met with school administration to see if they would be on board with the idea.
Administration very supportive of the idea
"Our administration was very supportive of the idea," said Vickous. "We knew we'd have plenty of built-in volunteers because the program is sponsored by the Bonners. We also knew we'd have the support of our dining center. It was clear we all wanted to move forward with the project."
Vickous and others at LWC submitted a video, letters from administration and students about the desire for a program to help the food insecure at LWC. The AARP Foundation responded with a $5,000 grant and a bonus of $1,000 making the total $6,000.
After receiving the grant the first order of business was to find community partners to supplement the food and resources provided by the college's dining center.
Community partners found
"So far we've had wonderful community support for this project," said Vickous. "Local restaurants such as Fiesta Mexico and Anderson's Pizza have shown interest in the program along with the local IGA supermarket. With their support, the occasional food drive and our dining center, I'm excited to see this come to fruition."
Abby Biddle, an elementary education junior and CKLWC coordinator, said the program has exceeded her expectations already.
"Everyone's support has been encouraging," said Biddle. "I went into this a little skeptical if people would be interested in helping. But everyone we've went to have been supportive. Even those that can't provide food have offered to volunteer and help in other ways. That's been the most rewarding thing for me; seeing how much the community really cares."
Biddle encouraged by diversity of people willing to volunteer.
Biddle is also encouraged by the diversity of people willing to volunteer.
"The Campus Kitchen is not just for Bonners," said Biddle. " We've had campus-wide support in the volunteer application process. We'd like to have a consistent base of volunteers for food delivery and with the Bonner office sponsoring it, that give us a steady source of labor."
A unique addition to the food partners is the community garden -- a local resource designed to bring individuals and organizations together to grow chemical free vegetables. The community garden is under the direction of Mike Bosela, biology program coordinator at Lindsey Wilson College. During the structuring of campus kitchen, Bosela was approached by Vickous to see if the community garden would be willing to grow food specifically for the project.
"The Community Garden is always looking for new outlets for our food," said Bosela. "It's a venue for distributing our food that helps us to reach some of the neediest residents of Adair County and it also brings more students into the garden."
The Pines at Lindsey Wilson will provide a home base for program
The Pines at Lindsey Wilson, 275 Country Club Road, Columbia, KY will provide a home base for the program. The college-owned golf course has a full kitchen and dining room and once operated as a restaurant.
Amy Thompson-Wells, Director of Community and Civic Engagement, has seen the affects of food insecurity in Columbia-Adair County during her time at the college. For Thompson-Wells, the campus kitchen couldn't be coming along at a better time.
"The Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson is an initiative that was started because we have seen numerous situations of food insecurity over the past 10 years of serving in our local communities," said Thompson-Wells. "Many of our families don't know where their next meal is coming from. We want to try to alleviate some of that burden. "
Vickous feels lucky to be working for a college with a high level of commitment to service and the local community.
"Not all schools are as service-oriented as we are," said Vickous. "President Luckey and Elise Luckey have always been supportive and mindful of service. I think that really fits into our mission at the college, especially the part about learning and growing and feeling like a real human being."
Vickous says experience has been rewarding
Vickous says the experience has been rewarding and she's excited to see the difference that the program will make in this community and beyond.
"I like that we are empowering student leaders because that's what Bonner is all about. You can make a positive change in your world and make a difference through your actions. Our students will take what they've learned back to their homes or wherever they end up after they graduate from LWC."
To learn more about The Campus Kitchens Project visit CampusKitchens.org
This story was posted on 2016-09-16 17:59:17
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