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The Antelope

The Antelope

Campus Kitchen volunteers feed the Kearney community


Amanda Demilt

Antelope staff

What do you do when you are a freshman and a class offers extra credit to volunteer?

Current senior psychobiology major Lacey Johnson asked her roommate, senior psychology major Tiffany Hoffman, to join her and they both volunteered with the Campus Kitchen Project, packing food containers for those in need. Johnson received extra credit but both got satisfaction from helping others.

“We were like, this is cool. So we just kept coming back.

“By the end of freshman year they asked us if we would take over next year,” Johnson said. Now, the duo is student leadership for the Campus Kitchen Project.

Every week, food is picked up from Cash-Wa and the donation locations.

Wednesday at 6 p.m, a group of volunteers led by Hoffman and Johnson meet at the University Residence North kitchen to pack take-out containers for approximately 100 clients. Each client receives two containers full of food per week, so the group puts together almost 200 meals.

Thursday afternoon, Hoffman and Johnson, along with a few other volunteers, deliver the containers to some very appreciative clients. For both Hoffman and Johnson, their favorite part of the process is the deliveries. “It is really cool to make the personal connection with the clients and see the impact that we are making,” Hoffman said.

The impact of the Campus Kitchen Project is so great that one of the clients has even become a volunteer. Johnson and Hoffman made a personal connection with this community member. She, in fact, lives in a retirement home. She is simply a client who knows how much good the project is doing and has offered her time to help pack the food containers.

The meals vary every week due to fluctuations in donations and purchases.  This week, the main dishes donated included fried chicken, chicken strips, goulash and ravioli. 

Just like the meals, the number volunteers varies weekly. Some, like Johnson, come for the extra credit. Others come each week just to help. Regardless, there is a job for everyone, and it only takes about an hour to fill all of the containers when everyone works together. The leaders welcome all the help they can get.

The Campus Kitchen Project receives food donations from several Kearney area schools. The food is donated to help minimize the waste created when leftovers are thrown away at the schools. What food isn’t donated, the organization purchases along with the take-out containers from Cash-Wa. Fruits and vegetables are usually the foods that are not present in donations.

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