Skip to main content

IUPUI students launch campus kitchen to fight hunger, food waste


INDIANAPOLIS — The Campus Kitchen at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, a student-led volunteer effort to fight hunger in Indianapolis, will celebrate its opening Sept. 5, preparing about 100 meals that will be sent to a community organization.

With the launch of the Campus Kitchen, the first in Indiana, the IUPUI program joins The Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization that empowers students to provide free, healthy meals using donated food that would otherwise go to waste. IUPUI students join a network of students from 36 schools in other states operating their own Campus Kitchens.

The celebration will feature remarks at 4 p.m. by IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, national Campus Kitchen Project leaders, local food rescue organizations and students.

Students will cook in shifts on Friday in the kitchen at the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd., using food recovered from on-campus dining halls with the support of the Chartwells-run IUPUI Food Service. About 100 meals will then be given to Wheeler Mission Ministries in Indianapolis.

Initial plans call for the Campus Kitchen to prepare about 100 meals once a month. In the future, the Campus Kitchen expects to prepare larger numbers of meals and share those with other local agencies as it recovers food from additional sources, including local grocery stores, restaurants and the Sidney,Lois Eskenazi Hospital and IU Health.

“At The Campus Kitchens Project, we believe no food should go to waste while people are hungry,” said Laura Toscano, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. “By joining our national network, IUPUI is offering its students the opportunity to fight both hunger and food waste in the Indianapolis community, and to develop valuable leadership skills in the process.”

Work to develop the Campus Kitchen began after IUPUI won $5,000 in the first-ever Campus Kitchen launch grant video competition in January. Competitors created videos explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen. By the end of the competition, IUPUI received more than 10,000 votes and won a $5,000 grant to bring The Campus Kitchens Project to campus.