Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Students Donate Meals to Hungry

Swipe Against Hunger, an initiative started by a group of freshmen to combat hunger, collected more than 210 meals for homeless shelters from meal swipes donated by students at Grab ‘n’ Go stations on Friday.

The group set up donation boxes at the three Grab ‘n’ Go locations on campus during the lunch meal period. Of the 210 meals given by students, 140 were donated to Community for Creative Non-Violence, a local homeless shelter. The rest were distributed by volunteers to homeless individuals on the streets on Friday night.

Antonia Liu (MSB ’18), one of the initiative’s founders, said that the donation was a practical solution that benefited both students and the homeless.

“[We] initially planned on helping the hungry and homeless by buying food and giving them out during the holiday season,” Liu said. “Georgetown students feel frustrated about all the unused meal swipes they have, and that’s a great resource that we could use to help those who need the food the most.”

According to Jawad Pullin (COL ’18), a co-organizer of the initiative, the Grab ‘n’ Go stations at both O’Donovan Hall and Einstein Bros Bagels in Regents Hall ran out of food by the time the donation boxes were packed up.

Frankie Capers, a cashier at the Einstein Bros Bagels Grab ‘n’ Go station, said that there were noticeably more students using meal swipes on Friday than usual.

“We ran out of food at around 3:30. We usually run out on Mondays, but not like we did on Friday,” Capers said. “We usually have a few bagels left — we had zero bagels left on Friday.”

Later that evening, the group brought 15 volunteers to distribute the meals to the homeless shelter. Liu said that she encouraged student volunteers to distribute the meals to allow them to engage with the D.C. community.

“The idea behind the project was to make the delivering process as personal as possible, to connect with people in need and to make them feel cared for and included in the community,” Liu said. “So we made sure to talk to everyone and show that there are people out there who actually care a lot.”

Indra Acharya (COL ’18), a co-organizer, said that he was able to relate to the cause from personal experience.

“I have been in a situation where I struggled for food, clothes and shelter. So I know how it feels to get some food to eat,” Acharya said. “I was so excited to see the homeless brothers and sisters smiling and blessing us. We were able to represent the Georgetown community as one that cares about everyone in the world equally.”

After the event on Friday, Liu and her co-organizers have begun the process of legitimizing Swipe Against Hunger as an organization on campus.

Grab ‘n’ Give, which allows students to donate money through one meal swipe a week, was redesigned in 2013. The money from student meal swipes goes to Martha’s Table, an organization that provides food and clothing for homeless families in D.C.

“Right now, we are working on making Swipe Against Hunger an official organization,” Liu said. “Until then, we hope we’ll be able to conduct events like that on Friday.”

Liu said she also hopes to expand the initiative to more homeless shelters in D.C.

“We’re also working on establishing partnerships with D.C. community centers and shelters,” Liu said. “Our ultimate goal for now is to work in southeast D.C. where help like that is needed the most.”

Pullin said that he would also like to see Swipe Against Hunger become a regular event on campus.

“Since coming to Georgetown, one thing I’ve noticed about the school is that tradition really matters here,” Pullin said. “I feel like Swipe Against Hunger is something that doesn’t just have the potential to impact the people we helped, but also the potential to really become an endemic part of the university’s culture, tradition and mission.”

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    AlexNov 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I wish I had known about this – I have about 50 swipes left for the semester right now, and at this point it seems likely that Aramark will end up stealing them (unless I start waking up early for breakfast…). I would easily donate 20 or 30 to charity if I could.