By Colleen Rockwell ‘18
Merrimack College officially launched The Campus Kitchens Project on Friday September 18, 2015 at Sparky’s during a brief ribbon cutting ceremony. Matt Schnarr, an Expansion and Partnership Manager, and Olivia Rogine, the Community Development Coordinator for the Campus Kitchens Project organization based in Washington, DC, made the journey to Merrimack College for this special event.
Campus Kitchens Project became a possibility for Merrimack when Senior Lauren McCarthy went on the Teach for America website to see what she could do for communities surrounding her. This is where she found the Campus Kitchens Project. McCarthy soon joined forces with fellow senior Amy Byrne to establish this as a club on campus.
The Campus Kitchen Project is a non-profit organization that is student- run on campus. Every Sunday from 1- 3pm, a group of five volunteers will cook food in Sparky’s kitchen with recovered ingredients from the organization’s three main donors who are Sodexo, Whole Foods and Farmer Dave’s, a farm based in Dracut, Massachusetts. The food will be distributed by van from Merrimack to the Lazarus House in Lawrence, Massachusetts. With food donations pouring in from the organizations three donors, Amy Byrne says that, “we’re realizing quickly that we have more donations than we realized. We’re hoping to expand to other areas and other clients in Lawrence as well.”
Many students here at Merrimack enjoy giving back to the community whether it is tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence or during the annual Mack Gives Back Program. Now students have something else to volunteer for. Juan Lopez, who is currently a sophomore on campus, expresses that, “it feels good to give back to our community.”
Not only does this organization focus on food recovery, it also puts an emphasis on nutrition education too. McCarthy wants people to understand that food insecurity exists, stating “that there is food insecurity surrounding us, and that there are ways to combat that and I think food insecurity in general is what people think about right away.”
Both McCarthy and Byrne are certain that this non-profit organization will still be around by the time both seniors come back to Merrimack for a college reunion.
For more information about The Campus Kitchens Project, or to volunteer for this non- profit organization, please visit Merrimack College’s webpage http://www.merrimack.edu/index.php.
Photo Courtesy of @merrimackcollege Instagram