By Taylor Christensen
University of Findlay students struggling to put food on the table may be able to get a hand.
It’s a national program called “Swipe Out Hunger” and Riley McKinniss, the Unit Marketing Coordinator for the University of Findlay dining services says its available at UF.
“We’ve been able to help a lot of students, much more than we were expecting and it just shows how great the program really is,” McKinnis said. “We have given out 360 meals and helped a total of 35 people since launching the program.”
As of Sept. 20, the University’s food supplier, Sodexo, has partnered with an organization called Swipe out Hunger to provide students who may be struggling with hunger an opportunity to get free meal swipes for Henderson.
Sodexo is donating meal swipes to fill up the meal-swipe bank. The number of swipes donated is determined by the membership of all the meal plans at the university, and the total number of swipes used. McKinniss says that there is plenty of meal swipes to go around, and if they do run out, which is unlikely, they will refill the bank.
Sodexo is also behind the Helping Hands food drive Nov. 3. Swipehunger.org states that in a national survey conducted by the Hope Lab with The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, one in three college students face food insecurity nationally.
“It’s really eye-opening to see how many college students do face hunger,” McKinniss said. “There are so many that do not admit it because of the stigma.”
To help provide students with a sense of security, Sodexo plans to keep the students information as confidential as possible. By keeping the staff on this project small and making it unknown to other students, cashiers, or dining hall workers, students do not have to worry about the thought of people finding out.
According to a peer review study in the American Journal of Health Promotion conducted in 2018, 15% of college students were suffering from food insecurity, while 16% were recorded to be at risk for food insecurity.
The study found that food insecurity was linked to lower success in academics, and higher risk for mental health problems, as well as other health-related issues stating, “food insecure and at-risk students were more likely to report their overall health as fair, poor, or very poor and reported lower energy levels compared with food secure students.”
This program is easy to apply for, a student simply has to fill out a form. The host office will review the request, and upon approval of the request, the student will get a call stating that they can use the meal swipes provided on their Oiler card.
Along with the food swipes, if a student applies for the meal program more than once, a representative will reach out to that student and ask if they need additional assistance elsewhere.
Swipehunger.org states it provided 500,000 meals to students experiencing food insecurity across the nation during the 2020-2021 school year.