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Food for thought

By Lexi Lozinak | Photos by Dan Johnson

O'Donnell Hall isn't just home to freshman boys. Four nights a week, students gather in the O'Donnell kitchen to fight one of Milwaukee's greatest problems hunger.

Campus Kitchen Marquette, which started in 2003, enlists student and community volunteers to gather, prepare and deliver meals to the homeless in Milwaukee. Rather than throwing out uneaten food at the end of each day, student volunteers collect salads, sandwiches, pastries and other leftovers from eateries across campus, including Marquette Place, the Brew and Starbucks. Students then prepare and repackage the salvageable food into complete meals for each of the service sites.

Another group of volunteers packs up the meals and delivers them to deserving sites across the Milwaukee area. Hungry children and adults can then go to sites such as Meta House, YWCA Transitional Housing Program, HeartLove Place Ministries, Casa Maria Hospitality House and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to enjoy a meal they might not otherwise have.

"For me, it has always been about eliminating food waste and feeding people. It's just smart," says Laura Mark, a student team leader who helps in food preparation. Mark began volunteering her freshman year and is still involved two years later.

Freshman David Mullins, who lives in O'Donnell, heard about CKMU and decided to give it a try. He has gone back with friends ever since. "It's so easy to come and volunteer," he says. "I like to know that I'm helping people in Milwaukee have meals that otherwise wouldn't have them."

It takes a lot of hands to sustain CKMU. Here's a look at the numbers:

  • 12 service sites in the greater Milwaukee area

  • 500-600 meals prepared on campus each week

  • 2,200 meals delivered throughout the community each month

  • About 200 helpful volunteers at CKMU each year

  • 3,000 hours of service dedicated to those in need

With so many hungry mouths to feed, CKMU always welcomes more volunteers. For more information, visit the group's website or Facebook page.


Comment by Kathleen Fugler at Jan 18 2012 12:00 pm
I graduated from MU in May 2011 and I never heard of this program during my undergrad. Now I work for Wisconsin's largest, non-profit distributor of food - Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Reading this makes even prouder to be a Marquette alum. Keep up the hard work! Over 573,000 people struggle with hunger in Wisconsin.
Comment by jk'80 at Jan 18 2012 09:20 pm
love this! thank you students for your time and seeing the value in this work. thank you MU administrators for facilitating, supporting, and helping to make this work! There is a surplus that can meet a need. Such a good thing!
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