130,000 meals later, Wake Forest’s Campus Kitchen celebrates 15 years of fighting hunger

Turkeypalooza going on now through Nov. 23


  • Turkeypalooza expected to feed 400 individuals this year
  • Campus Kitchen celebrating its 15-year anniversary Nov. 19
  • Initiative with roots to the 1990s still going strong

More than 130,000 meals have been prepared and served by 13,000 volunteers since Wake Forest University’s Campus Kitchen was founded. On Nov. 19, the organization will mark its 15th anniversary of combating hunger in the Winston-Salem community.

In addition to regular weekly food deliveries, Campus Kitchen is best known for Turkeypalooza, an annual event that coincides with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. This year’s event runs through Nov. 23.

About 120 students will take shifts from 5-9 p.m. today through Nov. 18 cooking turkey, stuffing, green beans, sweet potato casserole, yeast rolls and pumpkin cookies for 400 individuals. The food will be delivered to local partners at predetermined sites.

Sophie Brown

Sophie Brown

Two Wake Forest students started an initiative called Homerun in the 1990s, which involved preparing meals and delivering them to those in need. Eventually, Homerun evolved into Campus Kitchen, which inspired chapters at more than 50 campuses nationwide that work to address food insecurity.

Campus Kitchen will celebrate its 15-year anniversary from 3-5 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Campus Kitchen Lounge in Kitchin Hall.

“Turkeypalooza is our biggest event of the year,” said Sophie Brown, a senior sociology major from Lexington, Virginia. “It’s an event for the entire Wake community because we accept donations from faculty, staff, students and alumni to help pay for the food.” To donate, go here.

Alison Morton ('22)

Alison Morton (’22)

Brown and Alison Morton, a senior biochemistry/molecular biology major from Emerald Isle, North Carolina, are Campus Kitchen co-coordinators. Morton said CK “makes a resounding and continuous difference” for its community partners.

Odette Yambó Sánchez, executive director of Latino Community Services, a grassroots organization that works with Hispanic/Latino families to help them achieve their full educational and economic potential, couldn’t agree more.

“During Thanksgiving, Campus Kitchen provides meals for families, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year they deliver fruits, vegetables and bags of bread,” said Sanchez, who will speak at the Nov. 19 anniversary celebration. “Without the help and support of Campus Kitchen, we wouldn’t be able to have the impact we have in the community.”

Wake Forest alumni Jessica Jackson Shortall and Karen Stephan Borchert started Homerun, the precursor to Campus Kitchen. Shorthall said she’s impressed and glad that Campus Kitchen is still operating at Wake Forest.

Brad Shugoll

Brad Shugoll

Will Clarke, who expanded on their work when he helped establish Wake Forest’s Campus Kitchen while serving as an Americorps Vista volunteer, said 60 turkeys will be cooked this year, compared to 22 in 2006. He said he’s “proud of the dedication, ownership and love of those involved.”

Dedication will be on full display when students spend hours preparing and packaging meals for Turkeypalooza, in between and after classes — with music, conversation about school and stories about Turkeypaloozas past as the backdrop.

Cierra Palmer

Cierra Palmer

Brad Shugoll, associate director of service and leadership in the Office of Civic & Community Engagement, which manages Campus Kitchen, volunteered as a student and now oversees it. This year he’s working closely with Americorps VISTA Cierra Palmer. “Campus Kitchen allows the University to be in partnership with Winston-Salem in deep and meaningful ways,” Shugoll said.

Campus Kitchen also includes a Kids’ Cooking Coalition and feeds children attending Wake Forest’s Freedom School.

To attend Campus Kitchen’s 15-year anniversary, cover Turkeypalooza or arrange interviews with Campus Kitchen leaders, please contact media@wfu.edu or Laurie D. Willis at willisla@wfu.edu or 336.549.1994.

Photos: Campus Kitchen Through the Years

Categories: Events, Pro Humanitate, Student, Top Stories