Student Inspires Others Through Campus Kitchens

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ISIS2Last summer, Isis Rose, C’2012, found her purpose and merged it with her passion for cooking.  Her summer spent addressing hunger as a 2009 Shepherd Poverty Alliance intern at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., inspired her to establish her own philanthropic project at Spelman.

On Nov. 3, Rose hosted a meeting for students interested in helping her start a Spelman Campus Kitchens project, a program she was introduced to through her internship. Nearly 30 students attended and another 30 have expressed interest in volunteering with the project.

“As a Campus Kitchens group at Spelman, we can do more for our community,” said Rose, a sociology major, who worked with Campus Kitchens at Washington and Lee, helping to provide congregate meals to residents in low-income housing complexes and adult day centers, as well as to children in after-school programs. “It’s an all-inclusive way to give back to the community. It’s engaging and long-term, and is specifically tailored to meet the needs of people in our community.”

Rose bubbles with excitement when discussing the project, which she hopes to establish as an official student organization in January 2011.  A “mobile soup kitchen” of sorts, Campus Kitchens intercepts excess food from dining halls, food banks, local restaurants, and other charitable organizations. Food is then repackaged (or cooked from scratch) and delivered as hot meals, buffet-style at a partner agency or meals are boxed and delivered to clients’ homes.  Developed as a student-run organization, Campus Kitchens will be wholly dedicated to food recovery and delivery. Each meal is a nutritionally balanced diet, consisting of a protein, vegetable, carbohydrate and dessert.

Rose’s ideal program also includes a community garden project that supplies fresh produce to be included in the program’s prepared meals. As a collaborative, community-building effort, Rose says the organization will partner and establish relationships with agencies and organizations, as well as local farmers, food banks, colleges and universities, grocery stores, and restaurants to get needed food.

“I want to make this project connected to the community,” said Rose, whose twin brother, Isaac, attends Morehouse College. “The Atlanta University Center as a whole is not visible in a lot of projects. Rather than have gun violence associated with our schools, I’d love for people to recognize us for this kind of work.”

While she enjoys meal planning and cooking the most, it’s evident that Rose also has a knack for operations. During her internship, Rose assumed a leadership role in daily operations and planning, allowing her to gain an upclose perspective of running the program. She says Campus Kitchens has room for everyone – from cooks and meal planners to food deliverers and stock persons.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to pursue passions that don’t rely on academics,” said Rose, who plans a career in nonprofit management. “Everybody can do something in the kitchen.”

To contact Isis Rose, e-mail her at:  — Alicia Lurry

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