Organizations join forces to step up fight against food insecurity

Swipe Out Hunger, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing food insecurity on college campuses, has announced that it will take over a network of campus food pantries called the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), amplifying both organizations’ efforts to meet students’ basic needs.

The two groups have been working together since 2015 and saw an opportunity to strengthen CUFBA’s infrastructure, according to Inside Higher Ed. Under the new arrangement, Swipe Out Hunger will consult with food pantries in the CUFBA network, provide them with financial support, and create a “leadership council” of staff from college food pantries. Swipe Out Hunger also will incorporate best practices from CUFBA into the tools and resources it provides to campuses implementing anti-hunger programs.

Among its efforts, Swipe Out Hunger partners with institutions to run Swipe Drives, in which students can donate their dining funds or meal plan swipes to others in need; students have donated 2.5 million meals to date, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Related: Second Georgetown meal swipe drive doubles donations >

With the merger, Swipe Out Hunger will now serve 1,000 campuses, up from 145. There are also plans to create a $100,000 fund that could provide microgrants for participating campus food pantries.

Related: College food-service provider and Swipe Out Hunger to pilot meal swipe program >

Food insecurity among college students has intensified during the pandemic: 29 percent of college students surveyed by Swipe Out Hunger and Chegg said they have missed at least one meal a week since spring 2020.

Swipe Out Hunger and CUFBA hope their merger will amplify conversations about—and efforts to address—food insecurity on campuses. To facilitate collaboration, Swipe Out Hunger is developing an online hub where partner institutions and students can exchange best practices, attend webinars, access guides, and learn how to thoughtfully and effectively increase awareness of available resources.

Related: Simple nudges may boost use of basic needs supports >

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