The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Campus Kitchens Project, a community service organization on campus through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), has prepared its 10,000th meal for The Dwelling Place, a transitional home that provides support services for families in Montgomery County experiencing homelessness. UMES Campus Kitchens Project at USG began partnering with The Dwelling Place in March 2008, providing hundreds of meals per month for numerous families and additional meals around major holidays.

campus kitchens students lead cooking demo

Celebration and Education at USG

In celebration of the longstanding partnership, 15 families from The Dwelling Place attended a celebratory event on May 2 at USG.  The theme of the event was “The Family Table,” which builds on the notion that eating healthy, nutritional meals together helps to improve the family dynamic.

Participants took part in a cooking demonstration led by students in the Campus Kitchens Project, the majority of who are studying hotel and restaurant management. The event also included an educational program about the importance of eating meals as a family and of adding whole grains to one’s diet. The recipes prepared at the event featured whole grains including quinoa, bulgar wheat, and brown rice. Children in the families participated in craft activities and storytelling. Representatives from Whole Foods Market, who supplied the food and recipes, also participated.  

“Food is such a powerful tool – there is so much person to person interaction surrounding food,” said Dan McCoy, President, UMES Campus Kitchens Project at USG. “Meals can help bring families together, Campus Kitchens is helping these families by increasing the chance that they spend more time together at home.”

campus kitchens students lead cooking demo

Campus Kitchens: Meals and More

The Campus Kitchens Project at USG meets once a month to prepare fresh meals in bulk which are delivered to The Dwelling Place to be reheated as needed. Students, faculty, and staff at USG are invited to volunteer their participation. Families from The Dwelling Place visit USG at least once per year for educational activities.

 “Our partnership with the Campus Kitchens Project at USG is so appreciated by our families,” said Sebilla Jacobs-Odin, Program Manager at The Dwelling Place. “One of the most important aspects is the education – our residents are learning about nutritional cooking on a budget and that is knowledge they can use forever.”

The Campus Kitchens Project is currently on 28 campuses throughout the U.S. and is an emerging leader in the fight against hunger. While there is a faculty advisor, students at USG plan all of the meals, obtain the food, run the cooking shifts and organize the drivers to deliver the meals to The Dwelling Place. 

2011 Campus Kitchens Group Photo

UMES Campus Kitchens Project at USG, 2010 - 2011