The First Campus Kitchen in Northern New Jersey to Open at Saint Peter’s
Jersey City, N.J. – September 3, 2014 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that a celebration for the opening of the University’s Campus Kitchen will be held on Thursday, September 11, the national day of service, at 1:00 p.m. in the convent at St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church, located at 39 Tuers Avenue, Jersey City, N.J. A Campus Kitchen is a student-led community service project that provides free, healthy meals to local residents by using donated food that would otherwise go to waste. With the launch of the program, the Campus Kitchen at Saint Peter’s will provide nutritious meals for Jersey City residents in need. This new program was made possible through collaboration with The Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community; Sodexo, Saint Peter’s campus dining provider; Sodexo Foundation, which provided a $5,000 grant; and Rebuilding Together, a national non-profit organization, which provided assistance with the renovations for the space.
“The Campus Kitchen at Saint Peter’s has been a vision for the University community for a number of years and we are extremely pleased that is now becoming a reality,” said Erich Sekel, associate director of campus ministry at Saint Peter’s University. “Our students realize the need in our greater community and have expressed frustration with the amount of food waste they witness. We have been blessed to have students in the driver’s seat when it comes to this initiative. Feeding the hungry is one of the primary Corporal Works of Mercy and we are eager to continue our work in this area with such a unique and important program.”
Restaurants and supermarkets often unnecessarily throw out perfectly good food – a leading contributor to why 40 percent of food grown in the United States is never eaten. A Campus Kitchen at Saint Peter’s will enable the students to reclaim this food and package it into individual meals to be delivered to the homeless, the elderly, families and children in need locally. There are currently 38 schools in the country with a Campus Kitchen and only one in New Jersey, located in Atlantic City. In the last academic year, 36 Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 939,034 pounds of food and served 271,967 meals to 8,509 clients.
A number of local restaurants have partnered with Saint Peter’s to supply the Campus Kitchen with food. The current partners include Amanda’s of Hoboken and Le Gateau Bakery of Metuchen, as well as a number of Jersey City restaurants including the Academy Deli, the Brownstone Diner, Gourmet Dining at NJCU and Markers Restaurant.
“At The Campus Kitchens Project, we believe no food should go to waste while people are hungry,” said Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. “By joining our national network, Saint Peter’s University is offering its students the opportunity to fight both hunger and food waste in the Jersey City community and to develop valuable leadership skills in the process.”
Saint Peter’s University was one of seven universities that participated in the first-ever Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition sponsored by the Sodexo Foundation in late January. A diverse group of campus representatives created a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen and rallied thousands of supporters to vote for their video. By the end of the competition, Saint Peter’s received more than 5,000 votes and won a $5,000 grant to bring The Campus Kitchens Project to campus.
“Hunger is a major issue in Hudson County where more than 100,000 people are at risk and nearly 30,000 of them are children,” said Robert A. Stern, chair of the Sodexo Foundation. “We realize the largely untapped potential of youth involvement in the fight to end childhood hunger, so we work with The Campus Kitchens Project to mobilize students like those at Saint Peter’s University to take hunger personally and make a difference for people in need locally.”
The Office of Campus Ministry already engages students in a number of service activities, which benefit the community and beyond. Each year, more than 800 students contribute a total of approximately 16,000 hours of service to local, national and global organizations. On a weekly basis, students engage in the Emmaus Project and bring bagged lunches and toiletries to area homeless shelters. Saint Peter’s also recently established the Saint Peter’s University Food and Clothes Pantry, which provides food and clothing to members of the local community.
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Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. To learn more, please visit www.saintpeters.edu.
About The Campus Kitchens Project
Founded in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project is a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger in their community. On 39 university and high school campuses across the country, students transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets into meals that are delivered to local agencies serving those in need. By taking the initiative to run a community kitchen, students develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, along with a commitment to serve their community, that they will carry with them into future careers. Each Campus Kitchen goes beyond meals by using food as a tool to promote poverty solutions, implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education, and convene food policy events. To learn more about our work or bring The Campus Kitchens Project to your school, visit www.campuskitchens.org.
Sodexo, Inc. (http://www.sodexousa.com/), leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (http://www.sodexofoundation.org/), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $22 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog atblogs.sodexousa.com.