Community Kitchen opens on McNeese campus

Partnership with Second Harvest to feed seniors, children and students
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 7:24 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McNeese is partnering up with the Second Harvest Food Bank to make sure those who are hungry get the food they need.

The Community Kitchen was welcomed with a grand opening at McNeese as the latest effort to combat food insecurity.

“I’m excited and grateful that meet the essential needs of so many particularly our students and others who might be vulnerable to food insecurity,” City of Lake Charles community liaison Al Williams said.

The Community Kitchen will serve prepared meals to children and seniors. The food will be shipped to the council on aging as well as area after school programs.

The kitchen will also serve students at McNeese.

“We don’t always thing about our college students being food insecure, but everybody can be food insecure at some point. College is a tough time and we have to feed not only our minds but our bodies, our hears and our souls and second harvest is helping us do that,” Geneva Breaux, director of undergraduate nutrition and dietetics at McNeese, said.

In addition, the kitchen will be ready to provide hot meals during emergency situations.

“It’s going to make a much bigger difference, a much greater impact here in the Lake Charles area,” the president & CEO of Second harvest, Natalie Jayroe, said.

Members of Second Harvest Food Bank said this partnership with McNeese will allow them to cook about 2,000 meals a week in the kitchen located in the Gayle Hall Annex at 4370 Ryan St.

“McNeese had a commercial kitchen available but they weren’t using it. So, with their desire to help people throughout Southwest Louisiana, they teamed with us,” Second Harvest regional director Paul Scelfo said.

The Community Kitchen will also play a role in education and be used as a tool to drive learning for students in the nutrition and dietetics program.

“To actually do instead of just learn about it in a book, it allows students to engage all of his or her senses and it enriches the learning experience even more,” Breaux said.

About 400 meals will be cooked each day, operating five days a week Monday through Friday.