Students Across the Country Reach Food Recovery Milestone – Recover 5 Million Pounds of Wasted Food

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Student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project today reached an impressive 5 million pounds of food recovered since the organization launched in 2001.

Student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project, the leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste, today reached an impressive 5 million pounds of food recovered since the organization launched in 2001. At 49 Campus Kitchens across the country, students lead efforts to combat food waste and hunger by transforming surplus food from dining halls, community gardens, restaurants, and grocery stores into healthy meals, and promoting sustainable solutions to food insecurity in their community.

Food waste not only happens in our homes, it also happens on college campuses – the average college student generates approximately 142 pounds of food waste a year, according to Recycling Works.

Since 2001, student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project have teamed up with on-campus dining providers and cultivated local food recovery partnerships that help them prepare healthy, balanced meals for their community. Students prepare these meals in cafeteria kitchens during off-hours, and then deliver them to nearby community partners, like afterschool programs and senior centers, that are feeding low-income clients. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a landmark 5 million pounds of food recovered – food that would have otherwise been thrown away – and more than 2.5 million healthy, balanced meals prepared and delivered by our next generation of young leaders to those in need.

“We’re incredibly excited and proud of this tremendous accomplishment achieved by the tens of thousands of student volunteers who built this movement,” said Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. “What’s more, together we’re proving that it’s not enough to simply divert food waste, because a pound of leftover bread will never add up to a meal. It’s not only possible, but a moral imperative to transform that extra food into fully balanced meals for the hungry Americans who need them.”

In the last academic year alone, Campus Kitchens across the country rescued more than 988,705 pounds of food and served 321,936 meals. With today’s announcement, The Campus Kitchens Project is on track to recover 1 million pounds of food per year every year moving forward, based on our current scale and number of Campus Kitchens in operation.

Current Campus Kitchen dining partners include: Aramark, A'viands, Bon Appetit, Chartwells, Parkhurst, Sage, Sodexo, and seven schools that maintain a self-operated dining facility. Sodexo was a founding investor in The Campus Kitchens Project at the time of its inception 14 years ago, and remains a strategic partner in CKP’s efforts to expand its model to more campuses across the country. Student volunteers also form supplementary partnerships with local farms, restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets to incorporate more local produce and ensure that meals provided are balanced and healthy.

About The Campus Kitchens Project
Founded in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project is a national organization that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger and food waste in their community. On 49 university and high school campuses across the country, students transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets into meals that are delivered to local agencies serving those in need. By taking the initiative to run a community kitchen, students develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, along with a commitment to serve their community, that they will carry with them into future careers. Each Campus Kitchen goes beyond meals by using food as a tool to promote poverty solutions, implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education, and convene food policy events. To learn more about our work or bring The Campus Kitchens Project to your school, visit


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Erica Teti-Zilinskas

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