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First in Arkansas: Campus Kitchen at Tech

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Arkansas Tech University has become the first educational institution in Arkansas and the 50th in the nation to join The Campus Kitchens Project.

Founded in 2001, Campus Kitchens empowers university and high school students from around the United States to utilize surplus food from dining halls, community gardens, restaurants and grocery stores to combat hunger by providing meals for the food insecure on campus and in the surrounding community.

“We’re thrilled to launch our 50th Campus Kitchen at Arkansas Tech University, bringing more young people into this movement to fight hunger,” said Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. “With the continued growth of the program and our presence on now 50 high school and college campus across the country, our student volunteers are on track to recover 1 million pounds of food each year that would have otherwise gone to waste.”

The Campus Kitchen at Arkansas Tech was officially launched on Thursday night in conjunction with the university’s home basketball doubleheader at Tucker Coliseum.

Members of Because We Can, the registered student organization that brought Campus Kitchens to Arkansas Tech and carries out the daily food recovery effort on campus, were recognized at halftime of the women’s game.

Because We Can also had an informational table to inform students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members on how they can assist the food insecure.

“I am super ecstatic for the official launch of The Campus Kitchen at Arkansas Tech,” said psychology and sociology student Kendall Tubb, co-founder of Because We Can and the Campus Kitchen at Arkansas Tech. “We have been working very hard for about a year now to get the recovery program started, and I am very excited to see it paying off.”

Members of Because We Can engaged the Arkansas Tech community to help them win a fan-voted $5,000 grant from The Campus Kitchens Project during the fall 2015 semester.

The Arkansas Tech students and their faculty advisors, Dr. Sean Huss and Dr. James Stobaugh from the Department of Behavioral Sciences, began preparing for the launch of the Campus Kitchen at Arkansas Tech by starting food recovery at Chambers Cafeteria at the outset of the spring 2016 semester.

In less than five weeks of food recovery, Because We Can has provided more than 2,000 pounds of food to those in need in the Arkansas River Valley. The meals have benefited those served by Main Street Mission, Manna House and St. John’s Catholic Church Food Pantry.

Because We Can members, in association with university food service provider Chartwells, recover food from Chambers Cafeteria each Sunday through Thursday night and deliver the food each Monday through Friday morning.

For more information about The Campus Kitchen at Arkansas Tech, send e-mail to shuss@atu.edu or jstobaugh3@atu.edu.

To learn more about The Campus Kitchens Project on a national level, visit www.campuskitchens.org.