The College of William and Mary chapter of The Campus Kitchens Project is making an inspiring difference in the Williamsburg, Virginia community.
The Campus Kitchen at William and Mary (CKWM) uses existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in the community. The student-run volunteer group takes excess food from local area restaurants and grocery stores, turns the collections into healthy meals and repackages them to deliver to low income families in the Williamsburg, VA area.
In addition to serving meals, CKWM also holds weekly afterschool programming called Fun at Five for the children at a nearby apartment complex, which enables the college students to build authentic relationships with community members.
CKWM is more than just a student organization. The Campus Kitchen has taken the steps to be a major contributor to the hunger relief efforts in the Williamsburg community. In addition to building relationships with local pantries, the group has made deeper connections with the individuals they serve and the community at large.
Andrew Runyan, an AmeriCorps VISTA, working with the program shared, “To us, the people we serve are more than just clientele; they are our friends and neighbors. Our work at The Campus Kitchen at William and Mary, helps to break down socioeconomic and racial barriers and, in the process, builds community.”
CKWM also empowers college students with leadership opportunities in planning menus, recovering food, running cooking shifts, organizing deliveries, and advocating for hunger relief efforts.
Timmy Siverd, a student leader for CKWM, describes the student perspective of this dynamic, “What makes our Campus Kitchen truly unique is the tight bond the members share with each other and our subsequent desire to make positive change…So often college students can get insulated in their campus and ‘forget’ that an entire community that is full of need lives right outside the campus’s border. By bringing students into the community we serve, we are not only helping alert students to the pressing needs of our community, but also fostering in them a desire to serve throughout their life.”