Baylor Campus Kitchen competes for hunger relief

The Campus Kitchen at Baylor is competing in a competition to raise money for local hunger relief efforts. Leftover food from dining halls will go to local nonprofits. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

For the first time, the Campus Kitchen at Baylor University competed in “Raise the Dough,” an annual online fundraiser for the the Campus Kitchens Project, a national nonprofit.

The fundraiser, which lasted from Feb. 17 to today, allowed Campus Kitchen at Baylor University to compete against 25 high schools and universities to raise money for local hunger relief efforts. College Station junior Rebecca Peirce, director of the Baylor organization, said the money would fund seeds and mulch for its community garden, cooking supplies and potentially a garden shed.

“Everything is online this year, so we have a website donors can go to donate if they desire,” Peirce said. “It’s basically to help us keep our kitchen running as it should and to get things that we need.”

The Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund will match donations under $100 up to $7,500, and Campus Kitchens that raise the most money or involve the most individual donors will win cash prizes totaling $2,500. The national nonprofit will announce prize-winning kitchens Monday.

“Getting people engaged in helping others is a big deal,” said Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, in a Campus Kitchen press release. “It’s how we’ll change the world.”

The Campus Kitchen Project empowers students nationwide to fight local hunger and food waste. Campus Kitchen at Baylor University delivers meals to local nonprofit partners through recovery and delivery shifts, which utilize food left in dining halls after lunch times.

“We pick it up, and we take it to the Salvation Army,” Peirce said. “It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve done while at Baylor.”

Peirce started volunteering with the organization her freshman year, following in the footsteps of her older brother and sister, who also attended Baylor.

“I heard about it and thought I’d give it a try,” Peirce said. “I did it my freshman year and just really fell in love with the work that we do and the people that we help.”

During her sophomore year, Peirce joined the executive team, which she said has about 12 people, while there are about 50 to 60 additional volunteers. Students work cooking shifts in Penland Dining Hall three times a week and run a community garden managed by Georgetown junior Madison Stewart.

“I’m really passionate about gardening,” Stewart said. “I don’t think anyone should go hungry, and I don’t think food should be wasted.”

The garden, located on the corner of Ninth Street and James Avenue, is just larger than an acre and grows produce to be used in meals for local nonprofit partners such as Mission Waco, the Cove and the Family Abuse Center. Stewart said the garden has been her passion since she began volunteering with Campus Kitchen.

“Gardening is my hobby,” Stewart said. “Gardening with a purpose means a lot to me. Being able to see people eat something that is healthy and organic really makes a huge difference.”

The garden provides Campus Kitchen at Baylor University with produce and herbs such as kale, potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, cilantro and onions. Students work shifts in the garden Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“It really means a lot especially because those people are here in this community,” Stewart said. “It’s just really meaningful.”