St. Lucy’s Shelter for the Homeless was reconstructed earlier this year, built on the foundation of a Catholic school that closed in 1986. The reconstruction, which includes a new building across the street, has 165 beds for homeless individuals 14 units of housing for individuals with HIV, five family housing units and 15 affordable studio apartments. Catholic Charities has staff offices at the shelter, where clients can get help with many different challenges.
St. Lucy’s is one of several locations in Hudson County, NJ, served by The Campus Kitchen at St. Peter’s University (CKSPU), which is located in Jersey City. Other organizations served include the PERC Shelter, Haven Youth Respite, Magnificat House, Mary’s Place, Hope House and the Lincoln Tunnel Motel.
Healthy, nutritious, culturally appropriate food is the goal, and lately, CKSPU has been taking a serious look at plant-based food and its benefits. In June, a student-volunteer event at the kitchen featured education and a meal-making session to put the plant-based ideas into action.
“We are always working towards providing a nutritiously balanced by USDA standards and meeting RDI (Reference Daily Intake),” says Laura Ferland, RDN. “We always provide meals with recipes that are low cost with ingredients are easy to access and replicate from Sodexo’s Mindful website, food and recipes that are culturally appropriate and all our recoverable meals follow the strictest HACCP plans.” Ferland says.
A recent educational event for volunteers and the community brought Sodexo’s carbon initiative into the fold. “We geared our nutrition education toward plant-forward diets,” Ferland says. The education emphasis was on highly nutritious foods like legumes, nuts, soy, grain and vegetables and how they can fit into programs that feed communities in need.
“The best part about plant-forward eating is that it can take many forms and is more about demonstrating the value of nutrients that can be achieved with education and providing options, such as legumes as a low-cost alternative, in place of overly processed meats filled with additives,” Ferland says.
During the event, the Campus Kitchen team made 175 meals, with 150 going to shelters and 25 for the volunteers to try, including ginger-garlic bulgogi turkey meatballs with broccoli and brown rice. Want to try the recipe? Find it here