Based out of a small, first-floor kitchen on the corner of Northwestern’s sprawling campus, the staff and volunteers of The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) are working to make and deliver meals to close to 22,000 individuals in Evanston as part of this summer’s Feeding Our Future® program. From busy summer camps with underprivileged children to packed homeless shelters with hungry residents, CKNU works hard to provide food to those who need it the most.
As a volunteer for CKNU this summer, I had a chance to gain an in depth look into the needs of the community and how CKNU was helping to fill it. In addition to providing meals to children, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University and its volunteers are able to form a special connection to the people we serve and provide more than any meal could: companionship and compassion. In this sense, our efforts are not just about making meals, but creating a hopeful future for our clients. In recent weeks we have been lucky to be able to participate in a Feeding Our Future nutritional education event, with the Sodexo team at Northwestern University and Unilever, in helping to cultivate healthy choices in our youngest generation.
On July 24th at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, amongst 125 eager children and volunteers, we played nutrition-focused games – taste-testing whole grains and exotic fruits, and becoming “food scientists”, the children participating were able to gain an understanding of what essential nutrients will sustain their minds and bodies for healthy lives.
By providing meals and being proactive in the community, CKNU hopes to establish a foundation for each child to create a rich and meaningful life. However, without the ever-present support and contributions from Sodexo Foundation, Unilever, and the Sodexo team at NU, none of our efforts would be possible. Their enthusiasm for their hunger-fighting efforts and dedication to nutritional education not only help us to continue to provide meals, but give the children we serve an excitement and energy for healthy living.
Much like Sodexo Foundation’s summer feeding program name, we are eager in not only “Feeding Our Future” in a physical sense, but in an emotional and cognitive manner, giving kids the tools they need for a wholesome childhood.
Emily Scammell is a rising senior and president of the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University. Emily is serving as an Americorps VISTA for the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University during the Feeding Our Future summer program.