From October 2003 to nearly two years ago, Campus Kitchens helped serve the community by providing meals to people in need. However, the program is being revived at Marquette under the name Marquette Neighborhood Kitchen.
Rick Arcuri, supervisor of Marquette Neighborhood Kitchen, said that because Campus Kitchens no longer exists, Marquette has decided to continue the program on its own. Arcuri said the goal of the program is to provide a much needed service in the Marquette community.
Christine Little, kitchen coordinator for the program, said the program has three goals. First, to recover food that might go to waste. Second, to provide hunger relief for people in need. Finally, to get Marquette students involved in service and help students to realize how much food goes to waste. Little said the program will be operated out of the kitchen at Mashuda Hall.
“We are excited to be reopening and are fortunate to have Sharon Hope working as our main chef,” Arcuri said.
Hope said the program is very important for the Milwaukee community, as there are specifically high rates of food hardships in Milwaukee. Food hardship is defined as the inability of American households to afford adequate food by the Food & Research Action Center.
Little said Milwaukee has a food hardship rate of 23% compared to the national average of 14%.
Hope is currently working for Sodexo at Straz Tower and has been with the program since it first began as Campus Kitchens. She said she began working at the program because she wanted to try to help the community. Hope also said she likes the program because it helps give student volunteers an outlook on people who are less fortunate. In addition, she said volunteers can gain knowledge about food and nutrition.
Little said the program will provide food to the community with a combination of leftover campus food, donated food and food from organizations like Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks. She said the program will try to provide balanced meals including protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and sometimes dessert.
Hope said the program will do its best to make good food with what they can work with. They will also do their best to tend to people’s special eating needs such as diabetes or religious beliefs that prevent them from eating certain foods.
Currently, the program includes Arcuri, Little, Hope and volunteers. Little said they are currently working to start a team that will help recover food, prep the meals and deliver the food.
The program will provide food to the Benedict Center, which helps women who are currently in the justice system, Little said. She also said they will be working with community centers to get food out to the community and that it will be important for them to cultivate the relationships they had previously held as Campus Kitchens.
Hope emphasized the salience of the program for children in need, as eating healthy is critical at young ages. Hope said she hopes she can relieve stress and worry related to food.
Arcuri said the program helps meet the mission of Marquette by caring for the community and providing the volunteers with an enriching experience. Little said students can email her if they are interested in volunteering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“One bagel can be the difference between someone eating and someone not eating,” Hope said.