A Group of Triad College Students Are Working to End Hunger One Plate at a Time
Wake Forest University college students make an effort to end the food desert problem in the Triad.
Games like Bingo help visitors pass the time at SECU Family House in Winston-Salem. The nonprofit organization provides affordable housing for adult patients and their caregivers who travel to Winston-Salem for medical treatment. The center provides free food to visitors thanks to a partnership with Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University.
Campus Kitchen is a national organization that repurposes leftovers from universities and local businesses and donates the food to nonprofits in the area. The Wake Forest chapter also distributes fresh produce from the campus garden.
Jerry Davis is living at SECU Family House while he undergoes radiation for cancer in his right lung. Jerry says his faith in God keeps him going, but the service that Campus Kitchen provides also helps his family alleviate some of the expenses related to his care. “Oh this is wonderful. I tell everybody there’s a healing spirit that we have here. And when we come here, there’s nothing better for us,” says Jerry.
Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University redistributes 300 meals per week to nonprofit groups like SECU House. Shelly Sizemore is the assistant director of Campus Life and has worked with Campus Kitchen for the past five years. She says around 50 students volunteer their time for the program. “We are one of few campus kitchen’s nationally that maintain our operations during the summer”, explains Sizemore. She says because their client and partner agencies depend greatly on the food throughout the whole year, she doesn’t want to see food waste happening ever during the year, because then it could be going to waste. Although Sizemore doesn’t have many volunteers, she still continues to find ways to extend their outreach in the community.
According to Sizemore, dozens of volunteers are needed help prepare and deliver the food to local nonprofits. Campus Kitchen relies heavily on community donations. Anything from pots and pans to mixers and food processors are accepted. Moriah Gendy is a junior at Wake Forest University and has been volunteering with the program since she was a freshman. For the upcoming school year, Gendy will be the food procurement coordinator. She says it’s a huge project. “Every month we serve other 900 hot meals and we deliver over 4,000 pounds of produce on any given month so it’s a lot of work.”
Gendy explains, "I grew up in Winston-Salem and I saw the impacts of poverty in my community. Over 90 percent of my high school on free and reduced lunch, so programs like Campus Kitchen are making a difference, one community at a time."
Besides Wake Forest University, Campus Kitchen also has partnerships with Elon University, Meredith College and East Carolina University.
*Anissa Morgan is an intern at WFDD and a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.