Auburn’s Campus Kitchen Project is Alabama Bright Light helping Lee County tornado recovery

Auburn’s Campus Kitchen Project is Alabama Bright Light helping Lee County tornado recovery
Students with Campus Kitchen Project at Auburn University pivoted after the deadly tornadoes to feed survivors and volunteers. (Karim Shamsi-Basha / Alabama NewsCenter)

Auburn University’s Campus Kitchen Project has always been focused on helping those in need. That was before the March 3 tornadoes that ripped through Lee County taking lives, destroying homes and creating an instant crisis.

Daniel Crifasi and Amy Qazi are two of the students from Campus Kitchen Project leading the effort to bring food to those who lost everything and those helping them recover.

“What we do with the Campus Kitchens Project is pick up leftover food from dining halls, restaurants and other places around campus. Then we deliver that food to our community partners throughout Auburn and Opelika,” Crifasi said. “When the storm hit, it was an easy decision to bring the food here.”

Auburn University’s Campus Kitchen Project feeds Lee County tornado victims and volunteers from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The group brought more than 300 pounds of food to Providence Baptist Church the day after the tornado, then 50 pounds the next day. The small church near Auburn operated as a rescue and assistance center.

“We are just trying to help the community,” Qazi said. “Auburn and Lee County are so small, everyone knows each other. The more help we can get, the better things will be.”

When there are no storms to respond to, the group works on bridging the gap that causes food insecurity in the area. Campus Kitchen Project is a national program with locations at many colleges and universities.

“I think one thing that is unique about Campus Kitchen Project is that we are directly seeing the people we impact,” Qazi said. “Being able to make sure everyone has a meal at night is such a fulfilling and humbling experience. It definitely teaches you not to take anything for granted.”

Crifasi and Qazi delivered boxes of food to the church kitchen and then spoke with survivors and comforted them.

“Coming here to Beauregard and delivering these meals reminds me exactly why I’m doing this,” Crifasi said. “It makes you feel good on a very deep level.”

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Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected].

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