BEST PRACTICES BEYOND THE DRIVE
Once meal swipes and other food resources are available to be distributed, the next step is to decide where and how to identify students who are facing food insecurity. Below are tried and true strategies from several of our partner campuses.
Reach out to the staff who are already serving these students
Inform administrators who are already in touch with vulnerable students, such as financial aid counselors, deans, targeted supportive services (such as DACA, former foster care, first-generation students, international students), office of student health and counseling, office of student success and retention, office of diversity and inclusion, and student affairs. Ask the staff to advertise available resources to the students they work with and send targeted emails to specific students.
Explain available student resources and how to enroll. Place these brochures at the various offices listed above and at booths and other public spaces across campus.
Create a student resource webpage
Create an online presence to share information about how to enroll in various programs on and off campus. Mobile apps, texting programs, and social media alert systems can also be developed to inform students about temporary and ongoing food resources on campus.
Utilize the student government
These leaders can send out a regular newsletter blast with the meal swipe application form and publicize resources on social media.
Work with the campus pantry coordinators
Ask the coordinators to advertise swipes, SNAP enrollment, and any other basic needs resources to the students they serve and send targeted emails to specific students. Place flyers about these programs with steps to sign up at the campus pantry.
Ask to be part of existing surveys
Whenever students are filling out other campus surveys, a section can be added to screen for other needs, such as meals. For example, “Did you experience food insecurity last year? Would you be interested in information on meal resources?”
Plug into the residence halls
RAs can spread the word to freshman and sophomores and help reduce stigma. It’s fantastic for students to find out about these resources right when they get to campus. Since many students may move off campus when they are upperclassmen, if they find themselves seeking supportive services, they will already be in the know about meal swipes.
Become part of anti-hunger groups and community service clubs
Start a Swipe Drive
The meal donation drive itself serves as a key marketing vehicle about swipes or funds for the pantry being generated. In conjunction with the drive, the solicitation team can host an awareness campaign designed to capture the attention of students who may be struggling and reduce the stigma surrounding food insecurity.
Embrace the media landscape
Campus newsletters, newspapers, and media are a few information platforms that can highlight the resources in place to support students with basic needs.