By Alex Gamblin, January 17, 2023
The University of Central Missouri’s dining services provider, Sodexo, is introducing UCM to its partner and national nonprofit, Swipe Out Hunger. In collaboration with the university’s Campus Cupboard, they have implemented a plan to assist UCM students battling food insecurity. Students can now apply to receive 10 free meal swipes to use at university dining halls.
Swipe Out Hunger is a national nonprofit organization fighting to end college hunger one campus at a time. Through advocacy and policy, community building and on-campus programs, Swipe Out Hunger has built a network of 450-plus colleges and universities. According to founder, Rachel Sumekh, the ‘Swipe Community’ has provided an astonishing 4.8 million meals nationwide to students with food insecurity. UCM is one of 10 universities in Missouri joining the initiative.
Justin Dreslinski, Sodexo’s resident district manager, championed the effort. After noticing the program’s great success at other universities, Dreslinski called upon UCM’s Beth Rutt, director of student activities. Head of UCM’s Campus Cupboard, Rutt has seen the impact of anti-hunger programs firsthand. She was thrilled to join the initiative and aid the many students who utilize UCM’s pantry in accessing additional resources.
“This semester, Fall 2022, we have averaged 637 visits a month,” said Rutt in December.
In the new year, Rutt, along with partners that include Sodexo marketing specialist, Diane Wirthwein and the dedicated Cupboard volunteers, is thrilled to continue making quality meals accessible to the entire university population. As of Jan. 12, Sodexo has donated nearly 3,000 meals to be distributed to UCM students with food insecurity. This exciting anti-hunger advancement at UCM comes as the pantry celebrates its tenth year of operations in October 2023.
Dedicated to feeding students' minds with both knowledge and nourishment, UCM is proud to implement further anti-hunger programs thanks to the guidance of Swipe Out Hunger. By partnering with the nonprofit organization, UCM aims to further alleviate hunger and financial burdens in the entire university community by expanding upon the Campus Cupboard’s weekly offering of 10 pantry items to any UCM faculty, staff members or students who present a valid UCM ID.
The Campus Cupboard urges other individuals to learn about food insecurity and its marginalized effects on traditional college-aged students as one in three college students face food insecurity nationally. Cognitive, academic and psychological development can all be hindered if the mind is not properly nourished.
Ten free meal swipes will now be offered for the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Students in need can fill out the electronic form to start the process.
For more information on volunteering or donating to Campus Cupboard, contact Beth Rutt via email at email@example.com.