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Salem's Garden Helps Make Free Dinner Special

Posted Sep. 30, 2013

Students, faculty and staff from the Kent State Salem campus recently sponsored the Banquet of Salem, a free dinner for area residents, and served more than 150 meals in just a few hours.

Work and planning for the Kent State dinner actually began the past spring with the creation of the Discovery Garden on the Salem campus. Staff, faculty and students plowed, planted and cared for the garden all summer so that its produce could be used for the dinner. They also picked, cleaned and preserved some produce in advance.

In the end, campus volunteers were able to use cabbage, onions, tomatoes, beets, eggplant, Swiss chard, carrots, lettuce, fresh herbs, squash and other items from the garden. Several bushels of apples were also peeled, cored, cut and sliced.

The menu included Swedish meatballs, halushki (cabbage and noodles), vegetable soup, green beans, baked apples, apple pie, fresh cut vegetables, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream, cookies and drinks.

The Nursing and Radiology programs helped drive the effort, collecting donations of money and food items from campus employees and students. Nursing and radiology students also volunteered by preparing food, decorating, serving meals and cleaning up.

Organizers are already beginning to plan the next sponsored dinner, which will take place in the spring. Said one volunteer: “This is so much work, and we’re all tired, but it’s worth every ache to see how much people appreciate it.”