The Campus Kitchen at UGA's food service operations are led by trained UGA student Shift Leaders, executed by volunteer teams, and made possible with donated food items and a network of nonprofit agencies with verified service gaps. From grocery store shelves to the dinner table, our partners and volunteers work together in six key steps:
A majority of the food we work with is surplus inventory donated from Trader Joe’s. Food items typically include items nearing but not past expiration dates, misshapen or bruised produce, or torn outer packaging. We also receive fresh, local produce from the UGArden Student Farm, the Athens Farmers Market and Collective Harvest. Food Recovery Shift Leaders pick up donations from these locations and transport them to our cooler space at Talmage Terrace-Lanier Gardens.
Meal Planning Shift Leaders, often with strong backgrounds in nutrition and dietetics, sort collected food items into meal plans that meet My.Plate standards. These meal plans are used by our cooking and bag packing teams throughout the week. Food items that are not utilized in a meal plan are set aside for redistribution to other local human service agencies.
Throughout the week, Cooking and Soups & Sides Shift Leaders guide volunteers to prepare the recipes created by our Meal Planners. All Shift Leaders have a ServSafe license from National Restaurant Association to keep food and volunteers safe. We never cook more than 50 servings per shift, allowing opportunity for more creativity than a large-scale operation and greater ownership by students over the complete preparation of each client's meal. This food is then cooled and portioned into family-style meal kits.
During each cooking shift, Shift Leaders and volunteers also assemble grocery bags of food items and raw ingredients, including produce from UGArden, that were set aside during Meal Planning. The prepared meals and grocery bags are kept in cold storage until they are delivered to clients the following day.
Home-Delivered Meals: Delivery Shift Leaders deliver packaged meals and grocery bags directly to the homes of older adult families. Students use person vehicles to deliver to nearly 50 households every two weeks. Groups receiving this service are:
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG)
Often characterized by older adults raising young children, GRG families receive services through the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA). We deliver to families that have been vetted by the ACCA as food insecure, and Campus Kitchen's deliveries continue even after they have exited from ACCA's case management services. More information about the GRG program can be found here.
Meals on Wheels (MOW)
We provide additional meals and grocery bags to individuals already enrolled in daily home-delivered MOW program through the ACCA. We deliver to elderly individuals that have been vetted by the ACCA to have a food access need in addition to their Meals on Wheels.
Catered Community Meals: We collaborate with several community partners to supplement their existing congregate and delivery distribution by preparing meals for these programs:
Sparrow's Nest Breakfast
The Sparrow’s Nest is a Christian ministry center for those in need. We cater the breakfast for 70 individuals for the first Saturday morning of the month. We also provide redistributed items to this agency on a weekly basis.
Takeout Tuesday is the grocery delivery program for individuals on the Meals on Wheels waiting list. We source prepared soups, produce, and groceries for this monthly distribution for this Athens Community Council on Aging program.
Denney Tower Community Dinner
The Campus Kitchen at UGA leads a monthly community dinner for senior residents of the Athens Housing Authority unit at Denney Tower in downtown Athens. Learn about this program on our Beyond the Meal page.
Redistribution: A portion of our collected foods is redistributed as-is to community partners for them to cook or redistribute to their clients:
Our Daily Bread (ODB)
Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen of Action Ministries, serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday and a bagged meal on the weekends to the hungry, homeless and working poor in Athens-Clarke County. Our weekly redistribution of food items are used to help Action Ministries staff produce these meals.
Live Forward focuses on the healthy outcomes of those living with HIV/AIDS in our community. Our weekly redistribution of food items supplement's the agency's food pantry for clients.
Beyond the Meal
The Campus Kitchen at UGA believes that food alone cannot solve hunger. See how we are going beyond just meal service in our programs.