UC Merced launched the iCare mobile web application in 2017 which allows students to donate excess funds from their meal plans to the accounts of their peers who are at risk of food insecurity. Abraham Cereno, the Associate Director of the CatCard, developed and manages the program.
On an ongoing basis throughout the fall and spring semesters, students who live on campus can log into their mobile dining portal and based on how high their remaining balance is relative to the time remaining in the semester, they have the option to donate a certain number of meals at a time (in increments of $6, which is equivalent to one meal).
Students who live on campus and are low on meal funds can log into their mobile dining portal to request a transfer of meal funds worth $125, which is equivalent to a full week of meals, to their accounts. As long as they have a balance less than $50 and haven't made a request in the last 7 days they are eligible for the program.
In the spring of 2017, student donors contributed $85,788 to iCare and student recipients received $85,625 meal funds!
In the fall of 2017 student donors contributed $26,875 to iCare and student recipients received $23,604 meal funds!