Saint Peter’s University Wins $5,000 Grant to Establish a Campus Kitchen

Jersey City, N.J. – January 30, 2014 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that it is the winner of a $5,000 grant from The Campus Kitchen Project, a national leader in community service for students and the future of hunger relief. A Campus Kitchen is a student-run kitchen that will keep food from being wasted and will provide nutritious meals for those in need. The grant, which is sponsored by Sodexo Foundation, was offered to five out of seven institutions that competed in a video competition. Each of the $5,000 grants will enable the five winning institutions to start a Campus Kitchen.

Forty percent of the food grown in the United States is never eaten and a huge amount of good food ordered by restaurants and supermarkets gets unnecessarily thrown out. 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 homeless and elderly in need. There are currently 34 schools in the country with a Campus Kitchen and only one in New Jersey, located in Atlantic City.

Saint Peter’s University expressed interest in establishing a Campus Kitchen and qualified for the grant video competition. Competitors were required to create short videos explaining why a Campus Kitchen should be established at each university and the schools, which received the most votes following a week-long period, would be awarded a grant. The competitors included Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Georgia Tech, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Troy University and Emory University. Saint Peter’s took the bronze in the competition.

“We have been looking forward to establishing a Campus Kitchen at Saint Peter’s for a number of years and we are very excited that this grant will help us to make it possible,” 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.”

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 a Grab-n-Go Food Pantry, which provides food and clothing to members of the local community.

The Saint Peter’s Campus Kitchen initiative is slated to begin in spring 2014 and the Office of Campus Ministry is currently seeking corporate partners to provide food for the program. For more information, please contact Erich Sekel at or (201) 761-7395.

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