By Rolando Rodriguez Soto, Reporter
Baylor’s Campus Kitchen is hosting a canned food drive until Nov. 20 to help feed the hungry this Thanksgiving.
Turkeypalooza is Campus Kitchen’s annual school-wide event to provide meals for individuals and families in the Waco area.
All donations will support the Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry. Canned food items can be dropped off at the Martin House or at other donation boxes around campus.
“Our mission with Turkeypalooza is to get Baylor’s community involved in providing a special meal for Thanksgiving to those that might not have it,” said Kountze senior Devan Mayer, kitchen director and garden manager for Campus Kitchen.
Priority items for the food drive include green beans, canned corn, cranberry sauce, stuffing or any canned vegetable. Campus Kitchen also accepts monetary donations.
Mayer said Campus Kitchen works closely with Shepherd’s Heart for this annual event. Campus Kitchen collects the food, while Shepherd’s Heart distributes it because they are more aware of who in the community can benefit most from the meals.
Campus Kitchen at Baylor is a three-part student-led organization that focuses on food recovery and delivery, the kitchen and the garden.
The garden, located on south Ninth Street and James Avenue, grows seasonal produce including fresh organic fruits and vegetables. The produce is given to the kitchen cooks, where they prepare the meals.
Penland dining hall is used as a resource for other foods such as rice, protein or dairy that is not available from the garden. The delivery team takes the meals to different locations in Waco such as Mission Waco, afterschool programs or the Family Abuse Center.
Campus Kitchen also recovers leftover food every day from each dining hall on campus. The leftover food is provided to the Salvation Army and homeless people in Waco.
McGregor junior Christy McCaw has been volunteering with Campus Kitchen since her freshman year. Now she has a shift in the garden every week, and has had the opportunity to see how the garden has grown over the years.
“I remember one day when I really realized Campus Kitchen as a whole was really making a difference,” McCaw said. “I was serving food at Salvation Army, and I realized I was serving the same food I had just eaten in a dining hall that day. That’s when I got to experience the scope of what Campus Kitchen does.”
The national nonprofit, Campus Kitchens Project, was developed in 2001 as a branch of Washington D.C. Central Kitchen, which was a successful community kitchen in the District of Columbia. Baylor established the first Campus Kitchen in Texas in October 2008. There are currently 47 schools across the nation participating in this nonprofit.
Mayer said even though most of the volunteers are environmental science or nutrition majors, there is still a variety of student involvement.
“Anyone is welcome to join,” Mayer said. “They just have to have a passion for serving the community and helping alleviate poverty issues.”
For more information on how to volunteer with Campus Kitchen in their garden, kitchen or delivery programs, visit their website for the schedule.