Make it a day on not a day off.
This is the idea behind the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and the Campus Kitchen at Baylor University took it seriously.
The Campus Kitchen at Baylor University partnered with the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition in order to make lunches for the volunteers who worked during MLK Day of Service.
Lunches were delivered to volunteers at all of the gardening sites, which included Baylor Campus Garden, Urban Training Farm, Provident Heights School Garden, Hewitt Community Garden, Indian Spring Middle School Garden & Greenhouse and Rapoport Academy School Garden.
Student volunteers filled the Family and Consumer Science kitchen Saturday, Sunday and Monday in order to make lunches for the volunteers who worked at various locations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
The students who prepared the lunches represented various organizations including Kappa Alpha Theta and Medical Service Organization.
Mary Katherine Leslie-Van Hook, project coordinator and office manager in the Office of Community Engagement and Service, said partnerships between different organizations continue to multiply.
“It just grows and grows. We find more and more ways that we are in common and find more ways we can complement one another,” Leslie-Van Hook said.
Campus Kitchen at Baylor University and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition work together in many ways. The coalition helps the Campus Kitchen decide what to plant in its community garden and helps gather volunteers to work in the garden during specific service days, according to Bethel Erickson-Bruce, executive director of the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition.
However, the partnership benefits the coalition most visibly during the MLK Day of Service, according to Erickson-Bruce.
The lunch preparation events were scheduled from 2-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, but volunteers finished their tasks in 30 minutes. Monday, volunteers came prepared to work from 9a.m. to noon but were finished making the sandwiches before 10 a.m.
This success may be attributed to the limited number of students that were allowed to volunteer each day, which meant there was more room to work in the kitchen’s more intimate setting, according to Leslie-Van Hook. Not all the volunteers were the same each day, but there were some volunteers who worked more than one day.
“We’re having to really put a cap on it because that’s how enthusiastic our volunteers have become. That’s a great problem to have,” Leslie-Van Hook said.
The number of volunteers each day was limited to 25, but the enthusiasm for the event continues to grow, she said.
The student-run organization picks up unused food from Penland and Memorial each weekday, according to Leslie-Van Hook. This food is delivered to the Salvation Army.
Students also cook food that is delivered to the Family Abuse Center, Mission Waco and St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“We don’t want it to be a system where privileged kids get to drop off food and that be it for the day, but instead have our students be excited to engage with clients and realize how similar our stories can really be,” Leslie-Van Hook said.
The Campus Kitchens Project is a national non-profit organization that started in DC Central Kitchen in Washington D.C. and most of the kitchens are on the east coast.
“I think God placed us here for a reason. The fact that we are the only Campus Kitchen in Texas. I think we’re meant to be at this school and impact this community,” said Canton junior Abigail Leigh Reese, kitchen manager.
Students interested in serving with Campus Kitchen at Baylor should contact Leslie-Van Hook at Marykatherine_Leslie@Baylor.edu.