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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Campus Kitchens’ Turkey Palooza is making a difference

This Thanksgiving, more local families and fellow students at the University of Massachusetts Boston in need will be able to enjoy a real turkey dinner thanks to the efforts of the volunteers at Campus Kitchens.
Campus Kitchens Project is a national nonprofit organization that partners with a university’s dining center in order to repurpose unused food into prepared meals that are then distributed to those who need it.
The chapter at UMass Boston has been around since 2001, and they provide food for the U-ACCESS Food Pantry, local elderly housing centers, and the Harbor Point Apartment Complexes.
However, the Campus Kitchens does much more than merely providing food to those who need it; they also participate in food security initiatives by educating underserved youth and elderly in how to cook healthily on a tight budget. Along with that, the Campus Kitchen also assists clients with applying for SNAP benefits.
For the past two Thanksgivings, the Campus Kitchens also take part in a special event called Turkey Palooza. This is a two-day event where volunteers make care packages that include all of the traditional components of a turkey dinner that will then be distributed to parts of Harbor Point, the U-ACCESS Food Pantry, and local elderly homes.
Last Tuesday, volunteers worked in an assembly-line style in order to fill the care packages to the brim with things like boxes of mashed potatoes, stuffing, carrots, pumpkins, apples, and cranberry sauce that were collected throughout the month of October as part of the Campus Kitchen’s Food Drive.
The goal of the evening was to make roughly 150 of these packages that were to be delivered the following day, along with a whole turkey.
Sophomore Alex Moffat is a regular volunteer with Campus Kitchens, and took part in Turkey Palooza for the first time this year.
“Although the work was a bit tedious at times, thinking about those who can benefit from it made it all worthwhile,” he says. “It’s an honor to be able to give back, and that’s something we can really give thanks for this time of year.”
The spirit of giving was very apparent in the kitchens that day, partly because of the enthusiasm of Liz Moniz, coordinator of the Campus Kitchens. This is Liz’s second year participating in Campus Kitchens, and her passion and enthusiasm for helping others are still the driving forces behind the organization’s success.
“Working with Liz is a pleasure because volunteers get to see her passion for what she does,” describes Manuel Castro, who helped coordinate last year’s Turkey Palooza with her.
“She is always personable when teaching new volunteers how to get involved with the kitchens, and she could always find something for you to do. Her and her organization is truly one of the hidden gems at UMass Boston.”
While the Turkey Palooza is a major event for Campus Kitchens, their work is far from over for the year. Campus Kitchens is a year-round volunteering opportunity, and Liz is always looking for more passionate people to help out with.
Missed Turkey Palooza, but still want to be involved? Campus Kitchens is active every Tuesday and Wednesday from about 3:30-6:00 in the Lower Level of the Campus Center. For more information, contact Liz at [email protected] or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ckumb.