Gonzaga Family Haven Welcome Dinner
Food has always held the power to bring people together - helping to build connection and community along with nourishment. The Campus Kitchens project at Gonzaga University amplifies this blessing.
Emily Banick, manager of Campus Kitchens at Gonzaga University, works with a group of dedicated student volunteers to address food insecurity and build community through gatherings in Northeast Spokane. The program supports the Opportunity Northeast’s focus on whole health.
On Wednesday, October 20, Banick’s team served the first community meal at the newly opened Gonzaga Family Haven. Families gathered outside their new apartments to enjoy homemade broccoli-cheese soup, salad, and bread. Each family picked out a new handmade quilt (courtesy of who donated these), and got to know each other better in casual conversation. As families finished eating, children moved on to the Gonzaga Prep’s softball field to play catch with the players from Prep’s team.
Hoping to create a regular event, Banick has invited resident families to share what they would like to see at a weekly community meal – both in terms of food and activities.
“The dinner was a great way to welcome families into the space and bring people together over a meal." said Emily Banick
Campus Kitchens currently coordinates weekly dinners at Logan Elementary. Open to the families of Logan, meals provide an opportunity for Gonzaga University students and employees to connect with neighbors and students. When COVID-19 made eating together at Logan Family Dinners a challenge, Banick converted to to-go options for take-away meals. Presently, Logan Family Dinners are back in person every week on Tuesdays at 5pm.
Campus Kitchens also hosts occasion gatherings at O’Malley Senior Apartments, as students visit with residents, enjoy the occasional game of bingo, and come together through the connection of companionship and food.