Campus Kitchens Project tackles pandemic-caused hunger

Hannah Lahey

The Campus Kitchens Project in Washington, DC (CKWDC) is an organization aimed to combat hunger and poverty in D.C. Ever since the pandemic worsened food insecurity, the Project has been navigating unprecedented challenges to support communities. 

The CKWDC organization branches off of the Campus Kitchens Project, a much larger student-led non-profit social enterprise that addresses poverty and other social issues across the country. These networked organizations  have stayed open and continued their efforts, despite the increase in poverty and decrease in supplies.

Food insecurity caused by the pandemic has altered life for many, especially for those who depended on and ran the CKWDC. On the one hand, barriers that keep people from seeking help range from social distancing to food banks closures. On the other hand, the D.C Campus Kitchen Project grapples with difficulties such as supply chain disruptions and loss of help from volunteers.

Prior to the pandemic, the majority of the people helping out at the kitchen registered as volunteers via the United Methodist Church. However, according to Head Chef Anthony Mickens, “we aren’t allowed to have any volunteers to cook or serve the food,” as they must follow the health restrictions set out by the Church. 

 Regardless, Mickens and the CKWDC have continued to serve and aid those in need. “Despite everything we are being faced with, the people we serve are being faced with more, so we are trying to remain in full service.”

The CKWDC has made various adjustments in their distributions, the most notable being the incorporation of hygiene products and other toiletries into their care packages. Additionally, groceries and pre-made foods have also been handed out to limit clients’ exposure to the virus. 

Even though the kitchen isn’t open for volunteering, there is still a way to help out, contribute to, and give back to the DC community. “The thing we need, need, need more than anything else is food donations,” Anthony emphasized. 

There is an ever rising number of families relying on organizations like the Campus Kitchen Projects for food security. Wilson students who have the ability to donate have a responsibility to help those in need, some of whom live just minutes away from them. Canned and non-perishable food donations can be sent to or dropped off at 3655 Calvert Street, Northwest Washington, DC.