Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  November 2019  >  November 8, 2019  >  Students Put Dining Hall Leftovers to Good Use with Community Kitchen
Students Put Dining Hall Leftovers to Good Use with Community Kitchen

Community Kitchen volunteers serve meals.The clatter and bustle of Creighton University’s brightly lit Brandeis Dining Hall, its piped music blending with student laughter and chatter, would shortly give way to the hushed, dimly lit corridors of the Park East apartment complex.

It was 1:15 p.m. Nov. 2, a Saturday, and 15 or so student volunteers had gathered to spend a couple of hours preparing and delivering free meals to 46 residents of the 108-unit low-income apartment tower near 26th and St. Mary’s avenues. The regular volunteers were boosted by about eight Creighton nursing students taking an opportunity to fulfill their service requirement by feeding the needy.

Annette Davis, a Creighton junior who serves this year as president of Community Kitchen, welcomed the students. Davis has served with Community Kitchen, one of more than 300 Creighton student clubs, for almost three years, signing on during her freshman year and this year assuming the presidency.

“It’s definitely the kind of community where every meal is a question where it’s going to come from,” Davis says of the independent living senior citizen apartment complex. “A lot of the residents might not have eaten yet that day. Some may have eaten and will save it for dinner, but a lot of them will eat it as soon as we give it to them.”

Park East is one of two residential communities served by Community Kitchen volunteers. The other is Concord Square near 21st and Paul streets. Creighton volunteers deliver between 55 and 60 meals to residents of the two communities every Saturday afternoon. There is talk, Davis says, of adding a Wednesday delivery, or perhaps adding locations.

For the time being, however, there is work enough.

The students gathered in the kitchen at Brandeis Hall and scooped generous portions of fried rice, beef and vegetables into polystyrene containers. The food was left over from the previous evening, fated in former days to be discarded but now put to better use.

With the food prepared, the volunteers bundled into a Creighton van for the three-minute drive to Park East. The students are a known quantity at the building, where several residents greeted them in the lobby and took their meals into the building’s common area.

Davis nimbly kept track on her smartphone of who received a meal, so as to ensure that none of the 46 residents who signed up for the service were disappointed. It could be tricky. One resident, responding to the announcement that “Community Kitchen!” was rapping at the door, took three meals, two for participants who were visiting him. One woman declined, saying the boxes contained too much food. Most simply opened their door and took the meal, saying thank you before returning to their solitude.

If Saturday doesn’t work, Sunday is available, too, from 10:45 a.m. to noon, when the student-volunteers help Holy Family Parish prepare sandwiches to feed the homeless.

But Saturday was door-to-door day, and Davis promised the students they would be warmly welcomed.

“You’ll go door to door in pairs,” she said. “They know us, and love just getting to see you guys and chatting with you. For some of them, it’s the first meal that they’re eating that day or it’s their dinner for that night.

“More than anything, though, they’re just amazing people, and it’s really fun to be out in the community getting to know people.”

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