Pilot program addresses student food insecurity

SPU will be a part of a nationwide first-of-its-kind program to help students lacking resources find affordable, nutritious food. The university’s food service provider Sodexo, in partnership with Swipe Out Hunger — a leading national nonprofit group committed to reducing food insecurity on college campuses — selected 13 universities around the country to pilot the new program.

Swipe Out Hunger estimates one in three college students nationwide go hungry. Currently, more than 30% of SPU undergraduates are first-generation college students, and 50% of incoming freshmen are from historically underrepresented groups.

Sodexo will provide two free meals for every full-time meal plan sold at SPU, an estimated donation of 2,000 meals per year. These meals will be the basis for the “Meal Swipe Bank,” where food insecure students can request meals in the dining hall. Campus leaders in student life, residence life, financial services, campus housing, and student government are currently meeting to finalize the details. SPU Dining Services General Manager Kim Karstens hopes to have the pilot program in place by January 2020.

“We don’t have a food pantry on campus — some universities do — so this is a really great way to support those students in need,” Karstens said. “We want students to focus on their studies and not where their next meal is coming from,” she said.

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019