By Laurel Hecker ’13
Each year, the Center for Service and Learning recognizes students, faculty, and community members who are outstanding examples of what it means to serve others. Volunteers, student leaders, professors, student groups, and community organizations are honored in various award categories. Though recipients do their work with no expectations of reward, the Service Award Recognition Dessert (SARD) is a yearly opportunity to acknowledge on-going acts of selflessness, impassioned leadership, and community involvement. This year, on April 26 at McHugh Commons, the Center for Service and Learning recognized 18 exceptional people and groups from the extended CC community with 11 unique awards.
Spirit Awards: Annette Daymon, Kelsey Fowlkes ’13, Kristen Wells ’12, Tessa Harland ’13, Emily Burton-Boehr ’12, Qua Nguyen ’13
Outstanding Commitment to Social Change: Samantha Barlow ’13
Commitment Beyond the Course Award: Michaela Kobsa-Mark ’15
Award for Innovation in the Curriculum: Re Evitt
Organizational Leadership Award: Cassie Benson ’12
Innovative Leadership Award: Kathleen Carroll ’13
Teamwork Awards: Early Birds, CREATE
Partnership Award: Concrete Couch
Outstanding Initiative by a First-Year: Christine Odegi ’15, Skyler Trieu ’15
Class of 1981 Outstanding Community Service Award: Marley Hamrick ’12
Anabel and Jerry McHugh Director’s Award:
The awards ceremony in McHugh Commons on April 26.
Colorado College’s Community Kitchen, one of the oldest student-run community kitchens in the nation, will have additional volunteers when it serves its weekly meal on Sunday, Oct. 9. Joining the regular volunteers will be CC alumni living in Colorado Springs and members of the Student Alumni Association.
The Community Kitchen, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in April, provides a hot meal to the city’s hungry and homeless every Sunday afternoon at Shove Memorial Chapel. It averages about 200 guests each Sunday, said Colin McCarey ’12, one of the three kitchen managers. The kitchen also will host an Open House from 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15 during Homecoming and Parents Weekend to show off its many renovations.
This year the kitchen was selected by The Independent newspaper as a recipient of its Indy GIVE! campaign, which guarantees the kitchen at least $2,500. The goal of the campaign is teach organizations how to become self-sufficient fundraisers and how to best deliver their message to the public. There are several requirements involved with being a recipient, and it is suggested that the organization host an event that engages the community. To that end, those involved with the Community Kitchen plan to construct a “tent city” on campus on Nov. 13 to raise awareness surrounding the issues of hunger and homelessness. In keeping with the situation, the construction material will be cardboard, which participants will assemble into shelters.
McCarey, an anthropology major from Oak Park, Ill., said there has been a consistent rise in the number of guests since he started working at the Community Kitchen, where he became a kitchen manager his sophomore year. “Since 2008, there have definitely been more families and more children coming in for meals,” McCarey said.
The Community Kitchen began on Easter Sunday in 1992, when a group of concerned students began serving a free weekly meal to the hungry and homeless of Colorado Springs. The students recognized a need for a hot meal on Sunday afternoons, when the Marian House was closed. The community greeted the new meal with enthusiasm, and what began as a small operation dependent upon donations from the college’s cafeteria excesses grew into a community-supported organization that this summer served an all-time high of 300 meals.
The kitchen runs on donations: Bon Appétit, the food-management company at Colorado College, Whole Foods, La Baguette and, in the summer, Miller Farms, are the primary food donors. Once a week, volunteers pick up donations from several locations around the city with which to create a meal on Sunday. Because donations fluctuate week to week, the kitchen does purchase some staples from Care and Share. Meat, rice, beans, butter, cleaning supplies, spices, and maintenance fees make for an annual operating cost of approximately $8,000. The Colorado College Student Government Association gives the kitchen an annual allotment (this year, $3,000), and last year the Empty Bowls benefit raised $3,500. Private donations help, but student managers and their staff supervisor are responsible for raising the balance every year.
Last year’s renovations to the Community Kitchen were a huge improvement, McCarey said, highlighting how apparently minor changes can make a major difference. Just ask him about the new potato slicer: “That is the coolest thing for me. What used to take us two hours, we can now do in 20 minutes.” And a mop: “That was an astronomical leap forward from using rags on the floor.” And don’t get him started on the new steel pots, which replaced some of the aluminum ones: “We can cook things three to four times as fast. Before, we could boil potatoes from 10 a.m. to 2, and they still wouldn’t be done. They were rock hard, and it was a struggle to mash them.”
Another major improvement was establishing a back storage room for the Community Kitchen to use.”This allows for a much higher level of organization,” McCarey said. “We can have long-term organization and be much more efficient.”
Since its beginning, the CC Community Kitchen has fostered a welcoming atmosphere for its guests. The kitchen managers, all students, have emphasized a unique element at the CC Community Kitchen: They insist those served are treated as guests, not clients. The kitchen strives to eliminate boundaries and stigmas that commonly alienate the homeless. Although the meal is served at 1:30 p.m., all guests are welcome for coffee and pastries beginning at 9 a.m. Many of the volunteers eat with the guests, and many of the guests volunteer with food preparation, serving, and clean-up.
The staff currently searching for a consistent source of meat donations. The kitchen always is in need of candles, matches, socks, shoes, boots, toiletry and sanitary items, clothing (especially warm coats), sleeping bags and other items to distribute to homeless guests. Also needed are donations of canned and dry goods, paper products, desserts and salad greens, plastic ware, and containers to fill with food and send home with guests. Also needed are other non-food donations that support operations such as aprons, cleaning cloths, and cutting boards. The kitchen could benefit from more storage space, an additional oven, and a new warming oven.
Colorado College’s Community Kitchen, one of the oldest student-run community kitchens in the nation, underwent a renovation this summer. Gay Victoria, director of the Center for Service and Learning, reports that the changes include:
- Moving the dishwashing operation out of the kitchen and into side hallway, and adding a rinse station and stainless steel countertops and backsplash
- Two new freezers and two refrigerators for storing food
- An under-the-counter commercial dishwasher
- New slip-resistant flooring in the dishwashing and kitchen areas
- The removal of all upper cabinets and the installation of stainless steel shelving
- A new warming oven to keep hot foods hot until served
- A cold salad server to keep salads on ice until served
- A new commercial microwave for warming
- New hanging pot racks to keep pots organized
- A commercial can opener
- Two new commercial food disposals
- New commercial faucets in the kitchen
- A new hand-washing sink in the kitchen
- A new paint job, and lots of new trays, plastic glasses, coffee cups, and bowls
Check out all the changes next time you are helping at the Community Kitchen!
CC’s Soles4Souls shoe drive was a resounding success, as many faculty, staff, and students stepped up and donated their old shoes. The campus-wide project was launched in conjunction with a children’s book published by Charlotte Blessing, CC’s director of international programs.
The book, “New Old Shoes,” is told from perspective of a pair of shoes, and was inspired by the secondhand clothing and shoe markets in East Africa, where Blessing lived for 13 years.
Blessing’s book is narrated by a pair of red sneakers, and follows their journey from their first home with a young American boy to children in Africa. When the sneakers become worn-looking, the family sends them to Africa, and a boy there receives the shoes with as much excitement as the original owner. After adventures with him, the shoes end up with a girl who walks to school in them, and ultimately uses them as the hands for a scarecrow.
Blessing read her book to “Little CC” at the CC Children’s Center, and the children, parents, and staff there donated shoes there as well.
The Colorado College community donated enough shoes to fill 22 boxes. Lauren Paley ’11, Kasi Carter ’11, and Andrew Baird ’12, Center for Service and Learning interns, spent two days sorting and boxing the piles of shoes, which ranged from flip-flops and pumps to running shoes and consstruction boots. The shoes were shipped to a Soles4Souls warehouse, where they will be sorted and distributed around the world.
A group of 10 Colorado College students participated in one of the alternative spring break trips sponsored by BreakOut, a student-led, student-organized association that coordinates service trips during Block and Spring breaks. The students drove four hours south to volunteer their time at a Texas animal shelter. While there, they were featured on the local television news: