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A donor-donee matching app allowing students to share swipes with those struggling from food insecurity
Almost 40% of college students experience hunger and lack stable housing, and that number is surely higher in light of COVID-19. Considering the normal factors of rising tuition costs, limited financial aid, and dangerous student loans, it's no surprise that many students frequently put other needs before nutrition.
Swipe Out Hunger, founded by a group of friends at UCLA in 2010 to address campus food insecurity, is a leading nonprofit nationwide spanning more than 120 colleges and having served 2 million meals to date. Each campus does things a bit differently, but the original UCLA Swipe Out Hunger has various events and programs operating each quarter (e.g. the recently established Bruin Dine collects leftover food from dining halls and allows anyone to select a portion) before concluding with a swipes drive.
The drive is aimed at convincing all students with leftover swipes for the quarter to donate to the Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT), where swipes are converted to 1:1 meal vouchers for food-insecure students to collect in the future. These efforts are often very productive, as many students end up with extra meals at the quarter's end and would like to see them go to a good cause rather than otherwise being wasted.
Unfortunately, the ECRT meal vouchers have certain criteria before recipients can qualify for them, and for many students, significant stigma is still associated with visiting the ECRT and seeking help.
Nova is currently working with UCLA Swipe Out Hunger on a donor-donee matching app, allowing Bruins to directly meet with each other at any of the campus dining halls or takeout places and share swipes with those who need them.
The goals behind this solution are multi-faceted:
We would like to thank Celina Lee from UCLA Swipe Out Hunger for discussions that have aided the development of this project.