FAQ

COMMON QUESTIONS

Q: How does Swipe Out Hunger work?


A: Swipe Out Hunger is a national nonprofit committed to ending college student hunger. We advise colleges and universities on the design of commonsense and innovative anti-hunger programs.We work with colleges and universities to implement a range of anti-hunger programs across our 120+ campus network. This includes a variety of efforts:

On-Campus Solutions: We help campuses launch programs to combat student hunger. Our flagship program, “The Swipe Drive,” enables students with extra meal swipes or dining dollars to donate them to their peers. We serve as an expert in innovative and sustainable meal donation practices. We are excited and available to connect with any campus team looking to launch a swipe program, expand the reach of a pre-existing swipe program, or support in developing and sustaining anti-hunger programs on their campus.

Advocacy & Policy: We help students become advocates for basic needs on their campus, as well as at the state and federal level. We offer advocacy trainings for student leaders, as well as targeted campaign opportunities.

Student Empowerment: We train students on how to become leaders on campus through our programs and advocacy pathways. We also provide a platform for students with lived experience of food insecurity to share their stories with our larger community.

Q: I’m a student advocate. How do I get a program started?


A: Please fill out our interest form and a member of our staff will be in touch with you within a few business days. We will be right there with you to provide the materials and consulting needed to launch a meal donation program at your school to benefit classmates. By joining as an affiliate of our network, you’ll have access to contacts at other universities with similar programs you could learn from and share with, plus marketing materials and t-shirts!

Q: I’m a school administrator dedicated to ending student hunger on my campus. Where do I start?

A: We love you already. Please fill out our interest form and a member of our staff will contact you. We will be right there with you to provide the materials and consulting needed to launch a meal donation program at your school. By joining as an affiliate of our network, you’ll have access to contacts at other universities with similar programs you could learn from and share with, plus marketing materials, t-shirts, and more.

Q: How are students experiencing food insecurity identifying themselves to campuses so that they can access these funds?

A: We support each university with identifying and monitoring students who struggle with hunger and other basic needs. Our strategies are campus-specific and ensure students have a low barrier to accessing resources. Contact our National Programs Coordinator, Alexa Aburto, at alexa@swipehunger.org to set up a coaching call on the best outreach strategies for your campus community.

Q: How do campuses use the meal plan funds that students donate during meal donation drives to support student food security? 

A: Each campus decides how it will use donated meal swipes or points to address student food security. At many campuses, these donations are pooled into a “swipe bank.” A system is set up, enabling students facing food insecurity to digitally request a block of swipes or points that they can use to access food from the dining hall. A designated case management office on campus, such as the Dean of Students, will typically assess each student’s needs, determine if they are approved for the program, and arrange for swipes to be transferred to their student ID card. At other campuses, donated meal swipes or points are converted into dollars, which are used to purchase food to stock a campus food pantry. More information on how the swipe program operates at each campus can be found on their campus page. If you have additional questions, you can email team@swipehunger.org

Q: I’m from a community college. Can I join the Swipe Out Hunger movement here?

A: Yes! Community colleges statistically have high food insecurity on campus. Community colleges often are missing robust dining facilities and have students who are often working full-time, supporting family members, and have overcome obstacles by way of being first generation or a former foster youth– these are students that are most affected by food insecurity. Our California Hunger-Free Campus bill incentivizes community colleges to hire full-time staff who are dedicated to enrolling students in SNAP (CalFresh/food stamps) and start pantry programs to increase students’ access to food. Please fill out our interest form and a member of our staff will be in touch with you within a few business days.

Q: Our dining service company on campus has been reluctant about this program. What can I do?

A: This can be common, which is why we have developed solutions to the considerations often raised from dining. We coach our partners on how to build a positive and collaborative partnership with all types of dining service providers. Contact our National Programs Coordinator, Alexa Aburto, at alexa@swipehunger.org  to set up a coaching call to prepare how to discuss this program with dining representatives on your campus.  

Q: Do you do anything by way of evaluation? What has the impact been so far on your campuses?

A: Evaluation is a key part of our programming: we not only want to help the public understand that college student hunger exists, but we want to demonstrate to universities and beyond why our program makes a large difference in the experiences of their students. In order to do so, we conduct an annual impact survey to capture program feedback and testimonials from students who have received meal swipes across the country. Furthermore, we solicit feedback from the campus advocates who lead our programs in order to continually improve our services. We look forward to continuing to share the impact of our work on an annual basis. Check out the most recent Impact Report here.

Q: I understand that there is no cost to colleges to partner with you. Can I support you in another way?

A: Absolutely! As a nonprofit organization, we welcome donations so we can realize our mission here. It is through the generosity of our community members, corporate partners, and foundations that enable us to carry out this work. Check out our 990s here.