Cardinal Kitchen continues operations during COVID-19

<p>Food sits in part of the Cardinal Kitchen pantry Nov. 24, 2020, in the Multicultural Center. The kitchen has hosted two food drives during the fall 2020 semester. <strong>Jaden Whiteman, DN</strong></p>

Food sits in part of the Cardinal Kitchen pantry Nov. 24, 2020, in the Multicultural Center. The kitchen has hosted two food drives during the fall 2020 semester. Jaden Whiteman, DN

Learn more about Cardinal Kitchen

Cardinal Kitchen is located in the Multicultural Center behind the Student Center.

The kitchen’s last opening for the fall 2020 semester was Nov. 24, but Salazar said students in need can email the kitchen for an emergency opening. Executive members may deliver food to students in quarantine, or students can schedule a time to meet at the pantry.

The kitchen is planning to reopen Jan. 26, 2021, with an update on hours of operation to come. To contact the kitchen, email

How to donate to Cardinal Kitchen

Cardinal Kitchen accepts donations through food drives organized by different campus organizations, or at the Student Voluntary Services office in the Student Center. Cardinal Kitchen invites anyone to donate food or toiletries to its pantry.

Sources: Lilyana Salazar, Cardinal Kitchen executive director; Kelsey Woodruff, Cardinal Kitchen volunteer coordinator

After visiting Cardinal Kitchen regularly during the 2019-20 school year, Purseh Gbadyu, Ball State junior exercise science major, was inspired to volunteer at the pantry to give back to the Muncie community.

“This year, I was looking for places to volunteer at, so my friend told me about her experience volunteering [at Cardinal Kitchen],” she said. “I remembered thinking, ‘I want to volunteer here too.’” 

Serving Ball State students and Muncie community members, Ball State University’s Cardinal Kitchen is continuing operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The kitchen is offering intake forms for clients and requiring its volunteers to regularly change their gloves. These modifications to how the kitchen conducts business allow the organization to help those in need when they need it most, Executive Director Lilyana Salazar said. Salazar said Cardinal Kitchen has already served 70 clients this semester.

Cans of beans sit in the basement for the Cardinal Kitchen Nov. 24, 2020, in the Multicultural Center. Cardinal Kitchen is student-run and is open the last three Tuesdays of each month. Jaden Whiteman, DN

“With everything going on right now, it has been a little bit harder,” she said. “We are trying to supply diverse food options since [food insecurity] is something we are trying to alleviate.”

Cardinal Kitchen aims to provide everyone in the surrounding community of Muncie access to food and toiletries. 

In previous years, clients were able to come to Cardinal Kitchen and hand-pick their items. Salazar said this year, prospective clients can fill out an intake form, request 12 foods and two toiletries and pick those items up during the kitchen’s hours of operation — the last three Tuesdays of each month. 

Salazar said new precautions are being taken by organization members to protect from COVID-19, like glove changes every 30 minutes and pre-bagged items. Volunteers are prepared and ready to take on the challenge even though the territory is unfamiliar, said Kelsey Woodruff, volunteer coordinator.

“It’s definitely new for us,” she said, “[but] I think it’s been going pretty well. We’ve just had to adapt.”

Woodruff said there has been a decrease in clientele in comparison to previous years, but there are still items readily available for those interested in the kitchen. Donations are continuing to be accepted in the Student Voluntary Services office in the Student Center.

“So far, we have had two food drives for our organization,” Salazar said. “Anyone can donate food and toiletry items to Cardinal Kitchen.”

With the university’s decision to go remote after Thanksgiving, Cardinal Kitchen’s last opening was Nov. 24, but Salazar said the kitchen will still accommodate those in need.

“Students that need to use our services can contact [our] email, and we will do an emergency opening,” she said. “This can consist of executive members delivering our food to students in quarantine or scheduling to meet at the Multicultural Center.”

Gbadyu encourages students to utilize the program, especially during tough times this year. 

“It’s open to everyone on campus,” she said. “We are here to help you, and we want others to spread the word since not many people know about the kitchen.”

Contact Grace Bentkowski with comments at or on Twitter @gbentkowski.


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