On January 29, Georgia Tech won a $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Foundation to start the Georgia Tech Chapter of the Campus Kitchen.
The Campus Kitchen is a student service organization that packages food leftover from meals served in the three dining halls to feed the surrounding community’s individuals in need. While Sodexo is a contractor that provides student meals around campus.
“It was a video contest where each campus that was interested produced a short video outlining their ideas and how it would impact their community and by popular vote,” said Grant Grimes, the Student Promotions Coordinator at GT Dining.
Between January 20 and 29, students, faculty, and alumni were encouraged to vote for Tech on their website and out of the seven competing universities, the top five would receive the grant. Georgia Tech came in fourth, before University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, and St. Peter’s University.
“A certain percentage will go to supplies for the kitchen, a certain percentage will goto what they call general start-up fees—the affiliation process,” said Grimes. “GT is reviewing the contract so our target launch is end of March after spring break.
Most of the grant will go to the future daily operations of Campus Kitchens because interested students have already completed most of the paperwork to charter this organization. In addition, most of the kitchen supplies will be shared with Brittain Dining Hall.
“Dining Services has actually been working on this idea for years now… and Campus Kitchens Model was the most feasible concept because it truly involves the student sand creates a lot of buy-in on their part and the whole GT community,” says Grimes.
A part of the kitchen in Brittain Dining Hall has already been designated for this group’s operations, but student volunteers will package and prepare more food to be delivered. The group will primarily be active toward the end of Brittain’s operating hours as to not interfere with the dining hall’s student meals.
Currently, Georgia Tech unofficially donates food to the community but it hopes to increase its involvement. The main partner will be Atlanta’s Table, a section of the Atlanta Community Food Bank that receives food from providers around the community for distribution.
“We hope that this partnership will allow us to have access to some oftheir reserves and we can have additional food staples for our kitchen… so we can inturn share it back,” said Grimes. “We are essentially food waste free already but our goal is to have this food in the hands of people. Composting is great, but because hunger is still such an issue, especially in the Atlanta Area, we would rather have food repurposed to feed a family versus helping our herb garden grow.”