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CC Community Kitchen Undergoes Changes

College Seeks Innovative Ways to Address Hunger Issues

Safety concerns and a dwindling number of student volunteers prompted Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler to ask Associate Dean Mike Siddoway, who oversees the college's Collaborative for Community Engagement, to study the CC Community Kitchen and assess its operations. Siddoway, who has volunteered in soup kitchens in Colorado Springs and other cities for more than 40 years, noted that the CC Community Kitchen's operations are out of step with best practices, which include an educational orientation for guests and volunteers, a focus on the root causes of hunger and homelessness, guest screening for safety issues, and a code of conduct.

While most CC Community Kitchen guests are respectful of the college, the campus community, and CC property, there have been recent incidents involving drugs, unleashed dogs, sexual harassment, and stalking. Siddoway also noted that the campus chapel is not an ideal space for the kitchen, as the building regularly sustains damage.

He advised that CC step up its efforts by innovating to affect change at the root causes of hunger and homelessness. Because the college's core mission is education, students must be committed to the effort.

The CC Community Kitchen will continue operating until Nov. 16, and then scale back, providing boxed lunches while next steps are determined.

Students are working with the college's Innovation Institute to discuss ways to have a larger impact on hunger and homelessness. An additional $20,000 will be available to fund social innovation projects and advance solutions to address homelessness and hunger in Colorado Springs.

Additionally, Colorado College has sponsored two related internships, one with Care and Share Food Bank to address hunger in the region, and the other with United Way, the agency leading Colorado Springs' effort to offer 24-hour shelter seven days a week to people who are homeless. New and potential partnerships in the community will be identified so students may continue to work on these issues and engage in a purposeful way with those who are homeless, hungry, and impoverished.

Background information:

  • CC has hosted the community kitchen, providing Sunday meals to those in need in the Colorado Springs community, for 22 years.
  • The kitchen serves up to 200 meals a week.
  • Food is donated from various businesses and organizations and prepared and served by volunteers.
  • Initially, the kitchen opened to fill a void by serving a meal on Sundays when no other options were available. Now other community services offer food on Sundays.
  • Safety issues have been addressed on campus through Campus Safety and partnerships with Colorado Springs Police Department. The college continues to protect the right of all students, volunteers, and campus guests to feel safe.
  • As an educational institution, CC's role in addressing these issues should include intentional reflection and educational components to better involve the college in the lives and the struggles faced by the people who are homeless and hungry in Colorado Springs.
Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020