Under new program, students can anonymously use the leftover meal-swipes of other students.
The meal swipe donation program, innovated by TU student Conner Bender and director of dining services Mike Neal, started in the past two weeks. The program allows students to donate up to five of their guest meal swipes each semester. These swipes are then turned into vouchers that other students in need can use.
Neal said in the first week, students donated 30 meal swipes. The second week, 18 swipes were donated. Vouchers will accumulate every week and roll over the semesters to remain active for the whole academic year.
The vouchers were distributed to four departments on campus: CSAS, the dean of students, Financial Aid and the director of housing. These departments are allowed to give vouchers out at their discretion with total anonymity to prevent students’ financial aid from being affected by receiving vouchers.
“One department has already asked for more,” Neal commented, and he plans to give that one more next time. Giving vouchers to multiple departments was intentional, Neal said, because it makes it easier for students to access and removes potential for stigma. With continued awareness, Neal hopes the stigma against receiving help will be eliminated.
Sign-up sheets to donate swipes will continue to be located by the Caf, and students are encouraged to give as much as they can each semester. If a student needs help, they’re welcome to visit one of the departments mentioned to receive vouchers.
Students are also welcome to contact the Kendall-Whittier Emergency Food Pantry. The pantry will take your information and prepare a box of a week’s worth of food four to five times per year that will be dropped off at your location. True Blue Neighbors, located on sorority row, has expressed interest in potentially being a drop-off location for prepared boxes, if anonymity is a concern. Check with their office for more information.