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The Community Kitchen takes top prize of $10,000 in Niagara University competition

LEWISTON – A student team was awarded $10,000 in start up funds at EntrepreNU2015. The competition is designed to encourage students to create a business model that focuses on bringing healthy foods to low income residents in the City of Niagara Falls.

The student team of Maggie Hempel, Mckenzie Kutzuba and Victoria Swider was chosen for its plan: The Community Kitchen.

The Community Kitchen will provide a central location on the north end of Niagara Falls where local residents could purchase healthy food at a low cost and participate in demonstrations on how to prepare nutrient–rich meals. The layout of the facility would mimic the format of those seen on TV, with onsite kitchen setups.

The students, all of them juniors, told the panel of judges Monday that they are willing to partner with an existing soup kitchen or food pantry, but ideally they would like to occupy a vacant space, such as the Niagara Community Center or a wing of the Doris Jones Family Resource Building on Ninth Street.

Despite being the first year for the program, more than 100 students on 30 teams entered the competition. Two other teams competed as finalists and all three teams focused on education, not only delivering the food to the area, but also teaching residents how to preserve, prepare and harvest it themselves.