Campus Kitchen awarded AARP Foundation grant

Jennie Barr

Campus Kitchen at Kent State recently received a portion of a $625,000, three-year grant from the AARP Foundation to help community senior citizens fight hunger.

The grant, developed by the American Association of Retired Persons Foundation, distributes the $625,000 to 10 other universities, Kent State among them, to educate nutritional value and increase meal production to help serve 500 more seniors in America.

This is not the first time Campus Kitchen at Kent State has received this grant. In 2013, the Campus Kitchen Project at Kent State received the AARP Foundation grant for the first time.

Jacqueline Telmanik, a nutrition outreach graduate assistant who works for the Campus Kitchem said she helped re-apply for the 2014 grant. Kent State is one of 36 schools that have a Campus Kitchen. Telmanik said she goes to different senior centers to teach cooking and nutrition lessons to those whom suffer from food insecurity.

“We find the areas that need help and that’s what we (will continue to) to with the new grant,” she said.

The AARP Foundation recognized the hunger rate has grown 80 percent among adults over the age of 50 in the last decade. The student-run kitchen seeks to address these issues and serve those in need. 

“It’s so heart warming,” said junior communication studies major Laura Arnold, an active volunteer for Kent’s Campus Kitchen.  “I get to meet some of the people that stop by and say they’ve eaten our dinners.”

The Campus Kitchens Project, founded in Washington D.C., in 2001 has been able to serve more than 2 million meals. According to its website, the Campus Kitchen at Kent State was given the AARP grant in February 2014, and has served more than 36,000 meals since 2011 and serves to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities not only for senior citizens, but also for students, faculty, and families in Portage County 

“It’s a great way to connect students to the community in a different way,” said Anna Gosky, senior special assistant of Kent State’s Office of Experimental Education and Civic Engagement, staff advisor and founder of Campus Kitchen at Kent State. “It helps them understand the privilege that they bring to tough situations and to get to know people who may be like themselves or people that may be very different from them.”

In 2013, Campus Kitchen at Kent state was able to engage almost 2,000 volunteers to help serve on-campus for the Kent community, she said.

“Campus Kitchen has been amazing because it’s been able to enable us to connect students to volunteerism in ways that we have not been able to before because we have always been off-campus,” Gosky said.

The Campus Kitchens Project at Kent State was established in 2011 to recover food from on-campus cafeterias. Since then its partnership has expanded to helping with Kent Social Services, local farmers’ markets, the Center of Hope, Springtime of Hope, Trader Joe’s, Kent State’s dining services and multiple community churches. These organizations also help address and fight hunger of local senior citizens.

Contact Jennie Barr at [email protected].