Campus Kitchen Aims to Serve Food Insecure In Region
Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 [5:13 AM]
COLUMBIA, KY. -- Thanks to a new program at Lindsey Wilson
College, the city of Columbia has an additional source to help the
food insecure. The Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson College
(CKLWC), which launched on September 16, will provide free meals to
food insecure members of the community on a weekly basis.
Natalie Vickous, Bonner Program Coordinator, got the idea to
bring a Campus Kitchen to LWC because of an email she received from
the Bonner Foundation.
"We receive weekly updates from the Bonner Foundation, and on
this particular week I noticed a section discussing how colleges
could apply for a grant for a campus kitchen," said Vickous. "It
sounded intriguing so I checked into what it would take to make it
happen here. Our students in Bonner have been involved with Feeding
America in Elizabethtown, Ky. and are passionate about food
justice. It became a situation where it seemed like it would make
more sense to do that here in Columbia."
Vickous learned The Campus Kitchens Project focuses on using
excess or leftover food that normally gets thrown out by
restaurants or cafeterias as a main source of creating meals for
the food insecure. It became clear to Vickous and others that one
of the college's sources could be leftover food from the college's
Roberta D. Cranmer Dining Center. Vickous took what she learned and
met with school administration to see if they would be on board
with the idea.
"Our administration was very supportive of the idea," said
Vickous. "We knew we'd have plenty of built-in volunteers because
the program is sponsored by the Bonners. We also knew we'd have the
support of our dining center. It was clear we all wanted to move
forward with the project."
Vickous and others at LWC submitted a video, letters from
administration and students about the desire for a program to help
the food insecure at LWC. The AARP Foundation responded with a
$5,000 grant and a bonus of $1,000 making the total $6,000.
After receiving the grant the first order of business was to
find community partners to supplement the food and resources
provided by the college's dining center.
"So far we've had wonderful community support for this project,"
said Vickous. "Local restaurants such as Fiesta Mexico and
Anderson's Pizza have shown interest in the program along with the
local IGA supermarket. With their support, along with the
occasional food drive and our dining center, I'm excited to see
this come to fruition."
Abby Biddle, an elementary education junior and CKLWC
coordinator, said the program has exceeded her expectations
"Everyone's support has been has been encouraging," said Biddle.
"I went into this a little skeptical if people would be interested
in helping. But everyone we've went to have been supportive. Even
those that can't provide food have offered to volunteer and help in
other ways. That's been the most rewarding thing for me; seeing how
much the community really cares."
Biddle is also encouraged by the diversity of people willing to
"The Campus Kitchen is not just for Bonners," said Biddle. "
We've had campus-wide support in the volunteer application process.
We'd like to have a consistent base of volunteers for food delivery
and with the Bonner office sponsoring it, that give us a steady
source of labor."
A unique addition to the food partners is the community garden
-- a local resource designed to bring individuals and organizations
together to grow chemical free vegetables. The community garden is
under the direction of Mike Bosela, biology program coordinator at
Lindsey Wilson College. During the structuring of campus kitchen,
Bosela was approached by Vickous to see if the community garden
would be willing to grow food specifically for the project.
"The Community Garden is always looking for new outlets
for our food," said Bosela. "It's a venue for distributing our food
that helps us to reach some of the neediest residents of Adair
County and it also brings more students into the garden."
The Pines at Lindsey Wilson located on 275 Country Club Road
will provide a home base for the program. The college-owned golf
course has a full kitchen and dining room and once operated as a
Amy Thompson-Wells, Director of Community and Civic
Engagement, has seen the affects of food insecurity in
Columbia-Adair County during her time at the college. For
Thompson-Wells, the campus kitchen couldn't be coming along at a
"The Campus Kitchen at Lindsey Wilson is an initiative
that was started because we have seen numerous situations of food
insecurity over the past 10 years of serving in our local
communities," said Thompson-Wells. "Many of our families don't know
where their next meal is coming from. We want to try to alleviate
some of that burden. "
Vickous feels lucky to be working for a college with a
high level of commitment to service and the local community.
"Not all schools are as service-oriented as we are," said
Vickous. "President Luckey and Elise Luckey have always been
supportive and mindful of service. I think that really fits into
our mission at the college, especially the part about learning and
growing and feeling like a real human being."
Vickous says the experience has been rewarding and she's excited
to see the difference that the program will make in this community
"I like that we are empowering student leaders because
that's what Bonner is all about. You can make a positive change in
your world and make a difference through your actions. Our students
will take what they've learned back to their homes or wherever they
end up after they graduate from LWC."
To learn more about The Campus Kitchens Project