UNC Charlotte making strides to ‘Swipe Out Hunger’

Swipe Out Hunger
Friday, November 2, 2018

Across the nation, student hunger is real. Recognizing that one in seven college students is considered food insecure, UCLA student Rachel Sumekh co-founded Swipe Out Hunger, a nationwide program on college campuses that re-allocates meal swipes to students in need.

UNC Charlotte is now among the dozens of campuses in 23 states participating in Swipe Out Hunger.

The University did a soft launch of the meal share program this summer with Sean Langley, assistant director of Leadership and Community Engagement, and University Sustainability Coordinator Tyler Sytsma leading the effort.

“The most challenging part was figuring out logistics. What offices should be involved in this process? How do we determine eligibility? How will we collect donated meal swipes or declining balance?  How many swipes will each student receive? How do we convince University stakeholders that this is a worthwhile program since we are the first school in the UNC system to implement Swipe Out Hunger?” Langley said. “While these challenges are somewhat inevitable, they also present an opportunity for us to engage our student body in a worthwhile program that can benefit so many students in need.”

Students can learn more about how to gift their extra meals and declining balance that would otherwise go unused. Students who need to utilize the program can complete an assessment with Student Assistance and Support Services. If eligible, students will receive meal swipes or declining balance swipes on their 49er ID card.

“UNC Charlotte continues to find practical solutions to address food insecurity. Swipe Out Hunger was established to provide another layer of support to our most vulnerable students,” Langley said. “Through collaboration with Chartwells Dining Services, Auxiliary Services, Sustainability, Student Assistance and Support Services, and Leadership and Community Engagement, we hope to ensure every student in the Niner Nation family is not burdened with not knowing where their next meal will come from.”

UNC Charlotte undergraduate and graduate students who need immediate assistance for food insecurity can visit the Jamil Niner Student Pantry at 1224 John Kirk Drive. The pantry offers nutritious meals and frequently gives demonstrations on what meals can be made with the food in the pantry.