Durham Tech leads community effort to benefit campus food pantry

More than 500 students benefit from the food pantry at Durham Tech every year, which provides nearly 30,000 pounds of food to students in need. On Nov. 20, the Center for College and Community Service will unveil its newest initiative – the Campus Harvest Food Pantry Cookbook.

The goal of the cookbook is to provide easy-to-prepare, healthy recipes that use ingredients most commonly donated to the pantry for students facing food security challenges. Nearly 60 recipes from Durham Tech students, faculty and staff fill the pages of the cookbook, including White Chicken Chili from President Bill Ingram and Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts from Spanish instructor, Lance Lee.

“We hope to inspire our students to cook more at home and also encourage them to make healthier eating choices,” said Erin Riney, Director of the Center for College and Community Service. “That’s not easy to do when you’re juggling school, family, and work. We’ve chosen simple recipes that use items most commonly found in the pantry and have hopefully provided enough variety and opportunities for variation that students can make these recipes their own.”

A 10-member cookbook committee started the project in February 2017, which included Brandi Crosson, a current student at Durham Tech and owner of Porchetta Food Truck along with her husband. Crosson played an integral role in developing the cookbook and testing the recipes.

“My career plan is to become a dietitian,” Crosson said. “So healthy eating and food insecurity are two important subjects for me. This project allowed me to begin working in a field I love and give back to my community.”

The cookbook will be unveiled at a release party November 20 at 2 p.m. in the food pantry where light samples of featured recipes will be served and food demonstrations will be conducted. The cookbook is free for frequent pantry shoppers. Copies of the cookbook will be available for pick up and donations are requested.

The cookbook was a community effort between volunteers from Durham Tech, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University, Durham County Master Gardeners, RSVP of Durham County, Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, Carolina Arbors Community, and Briggs Avenue Community Garden.

“So many people had a role in bringing this cookbook into existence and we’re excited to bring them all together for our cookbook release party,” Riney said. “It’s been a truly collaborative, community effort, and I hope our students feel the support from not only Durham Tech, but also their Durham community as well.”

The production of the cookbook was made possible by a grant from the Burt’s Bees Foundation, which also included the production of tote bags for frequent pantry shoppers to use.

“One of the inspirations for the cookbook was helping students understand how to utilize the fresh produce that’s donated to the pantry,” Riney said. “Connecting students to fresh foods locally grown by their fellow students and Durham volunteers at the community garden is incredibly fulfilling. We’d love for the cookbooks to inspire students to learn more about food and nutrition and to feel empowered to make educated eating choices that make sense for them and their families.”

If you are interested in attending the Cookbook Release Party on November 20, please RSVP.