In Hampton Roads and Richmond, representatives of ECPI University are volunteering their time in support of the Foodbank. The
Foodbank works to provide solutions to hunger and certain consequences of poverty in the community by promoting food recovery by means of acquiring and distributing food, clothing, and related products to those in crisis.
The Culinary Institute of Virginia has been involved since 2007 in the Hampton Roads area. Chef Patrick Kearney has been leading student volunteers to prepare meals as a part of the “Kids Café.” He speculates that in one year his team has prepared more than 72,000 meals. Ten to 15 culinary students volunteer once a month to prepare the donated food that varies on each occasion. “Students use the opportunity to gain experience, use skills and interact with other students and teachers,” said Chef Kearney. “I tell the students the best way to impact the community is to give their time.”
Culinary student, Matt Davis feels, “It is a good cause and great practice. It is also a great way to build a stronger bond with other students and teachers.” Students usually commit to four hours of volunteer time on each occasion; however, Chef Kearney once had to prepare 600 pounds of turkey at Thanksgiving which took the team more than eight hours.
Omar Gafford is the Director of Healthcare Administration with MCI in Richmond, Virginia. He wanted to provide an opportunity for staff and students to interact with each other in an environment outside of the school. Instructors launched the Foodbank initiative on April 15 in the community kitchen. The community kitchen is a full production kitchen where volunteers prepare and package over 3,500 meals for various child and senior programs. Students involved in MEDIC (Medical Students of ECPI University, Development, Involvement, Community organizations) will assist in the Meals on Wheels.