Everyone at the Table: Swipe Out Hunger Announces Partnerships with Sodexo, Aramark, and CBORD
As the CEO of Swipe Out Hunger, I’ve spent the past nine years devoted to a cause – ensuring all college students have access to nourishing meals.
Over those years, we heard all too many stories of students who were swallowed by the shame of their rumbling stomachs, nevertheless pushing through and showing up for class. With one in three students facing hunger, we knew a solution would take time and investment from across sectors.
Today, we announce three new corporate partnerships with Sodexo, Aramark, and CBORD, reflecting a historic moment in the movement to end student hunger. Sodexo is the eighteenth largest employer in the world. Aramark is the second largest food service company in the United States. CBORD is the leading company for ID card services on hundreds of college campuses. Across these three partnerships, we anticipate being able to increase the meals we provide to college students by 39% in the first year.
For a long time, a central part of my job was convincing the public and campus administrators that student hunger was a real issue. Through the righteous activism of our campus leaders on the ground and conclusive research, that fact is now undeniable. We have grown our movement from one group of friends at UCLA to over 85 campuses in 33 states. And friends, you are reading this only at the tipping point.
After years of building relationships across sectors, we are proud to partner with three of the leading higher education companies– each of which is leveraging their position to end student hunger. Each is raising the bar for the entire higher education sector in the following ways:
– Sodexo: With the intention of growing the program nationally, the company will be launching a pilot program across 13 universities, establishing “Meal Swipes Banks” for students facing food insecurity to access. We will be working closely with their national team to ensure students are at the table in designing and thoughtfully promoting the resource. In its first year, the 13-campus pilot will lead to an additional 25,000 meals.
– Aramark: The second largest food service provider in the country is the founding funder of our new Research & Development Lab, which seeks to surface and promote high impact, innovative solutions to address campus hunger. This includes piloting cutting-edge programs on campuses, leveraging data and research, and developing advocacy strategies to catalyze public funding for higher education basic needs programs.
– CBORD: The technology company who operates the ID card services on hundreds of campuses will eliminate the logistical challenges of transferring meal swipes by developing functionality within their GET CBORD Student app to allow students to instantly donate their leftover meals to their peers who are facing food insecurity on campus.
I was on a panel in 2014 when a leader in the food industry, before an audience of hundreds of students said: “I don’t have much to say about Swipe Out Hunger because programs like that might work on a few campuses but they’re not sustainable, and I don’t see it growing.”
Swipe Out Hunger has often described itself as a scrappy, grassroots nonprofit, started by students, for students. Early on, we learned to navigate the delicate relationships between students, campus administration, policymakers, and corporate partners, understanding each stakeholder’s priorities. It was clear that in order for sustainable change to happen on campus, everyone needed to be at the table.
I am proud to say that the legitimacy of our issue is now publicly accepted, even by our original cynics. And, we are making incredible progress with our partners on-the-ground. Now, we stand alongside companies like Sodexo, Aramark, and CBORD in the fight against food insecurity. Together, our “scrappy” start-up of college students turned twenty-somethings will work with giants in the industry, to collectively imagine a world where no college student goes hungry.
Founder & CEO