As the Kitchen’s outreach coordinator with the Office of Service Learning, Sarah Jackson does it all, including managing finances and grants, recruiting new volunteers, communicating with community partners and compiling reports.
UGA’s Campus Kitchen was founded in 2010, in cooperation with a human geography course. Jackson has been a part of the organization from the start and worked her way up from volunteering to become a full-time employee.
She helped conduct a feasibility study to determine the need for Campus Kitchen at UGA. She found the greatest need among senior citizens, which is where the group focuses its effort.
“I was excited to get involved because it allowed me to use the theories I learned in class, and put them into practice,” said Jackson.
Jackson has had many great moments working with Campus Kitchen UGA, including when Jeff Gordon, the racecar driver, volunteered with UGA’s Campus Kitchen. Last semester they received a grant from the American Association of Retired People, the company that sponsors Jeff Gordon. Through the company’s connections, he delivered food with the volunteers.
“It was nice that not only Campus Kitchen UGA was getting attention for our hard work, but most importantly it was elevating the issue of senior hunger on a national stage,” said Jackson.
When needed Jackson still makes deliveries or fills in for other positions. She likes to interact with the volunteers and meal recipients, but since this is a student powered hunger relief effort she likes to primarily stay behind the scenes.
“I think she is the perfect person to run something like Campus Kitchen UGA,” said Katie Faulkner, events and fundraising coordinator, treasurer, and Monday packing shift leader. “because she is able to handle the immense amount of work necessary to run this organization on a daily basis while still always remaining positive when things don’t work out perfectly. She is so passionate about what we are doing and it rubs off on the rest of the leadership team and volunteers.”
Campus Kitchen is a national organization that provides food to those less fortunate. University of Georgia’s chapter is unique in the fact that they focus on providing food to the elderly.
Campus Kitchen receives food from local businesses and grows its own produce. Through partnerships with different classes they have had over 250 volunteers who have helped pick, collect, cook and deliver food to Athens senior citizens.
“Volunteering with Campus Kitchen UGA has been a great experience,” said Stephanie Mobley, Campus Kitchen volunteer. It is great that there are organizations out there like Campus Kitchen that can really make a difference in our community.”