NU Campus Kitchen participates in online fundraiser to sustain efforts

Tom Meyer

The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern advanced to the final round of the national Campus Kitchens Project fundraising contest Monday after gaining the most “likes” on Facebook.

NU’s Campus Kitchen, a student organization that prepares and delivers food to needy clients and local social service agencies, will compete against three other universities and a high school in a contest to see which school can raise the most money by April 1. The national organization will then donate additional funds to the winning chapter, which can equal 10 percent of the funds raised by the school, CKNU coordinator Katie Darin said. All chapters keep the money they raise during the contest.

“That could mean up to a thousand dollars more, so there’s a lot that we could do with that,” Darin said. “Each kitchen requires about $10,000 to work each year, so every opportunity we have to raise money is fantastic.”

To advance to the final round, schools had to be either in the top four for fundraising or be the chapter with the most likes on Facebook. The money raised for each chapter in the first round carries over to the second round, in which Facebook likes are not considered and the winner is selected by total dollars raised. As of a March 23 update, NU’s chapter was more than $2,600 behind the chapter in first place.

Darin said the majority of the money the kitchen uses goes toward purchasing food for meals, and some funds go to kitchen supplies and delivery costs. CKNU gets some of its food from a process Darin calls “food rescue” in which unneeded food from dining halls is donated and used to create meals.

“If Allison has a tray of food and Sargent has a tray of food, then we can use those two trays to create something new and nutritious,” Darin said. “But if we have a lot of one food item, like kidney beans last week, then we have to go buy some food to add so that we can create a balanced meal.”

The NU chapter advanced to the final round of the competition, dubbed March Matchness in reference to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, by virtue of having the most likes of any school on its Facebook page that advanced. The other finalists – Gettysburg College, Saint Louis University, Atlantic City High School and Gonzaga University – were the top fundraisers and the winner will be determined by the amount of money raised by the end of the competition.

“[The Campus Kitchens Project] started this contest so that we can raise awareness about hunger,” CKNU Vice President Sarah Suh said. “This is definitely beneficial for us because we’re going on Facebook and talking about it.”

Suh, a Weinberg sophomore, said the NU chapter has so far raised over $300 with a goal of $1,000 raised. These funds will help pay for continued services to the clients CKNU serves, she said. This includes individual families for whom the meals are delivered to their doors and several agencies, including the Second Baptist Church of Evanston, which then give the food to those in need.

Al Davis, assistant food coordinator for Second Baptist, said these clients include the homeless, injured, needy and, occasionally, students. He said the food CKNU delivers helps meet demand, including a delivery this Monday.

“It’s been very great, the sandwiches they provide us,” Davis said Tuesday. “Yesterday was such a blessing.”

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