By the end of the school semester, college students are often left with hundreds of dollars in meal points or "swipes", which disappear at the end of the term. Swipes for the Homeless [Swipes, as we affectionately call ourselves] allows students to do donate those remaining dollars to their local homeless population while learning about the realities of homelessness on campus and in their community. Students sign off on their meals, the school converts those dollars into non-perishable food (or writes a check), then students drop off the donation to a local food bank or shelter. Simply reallocating an unused resource.
In march of 2012, our original chapter at UCLA was invited to the White House and acknowledged by President Obama. Since, over 60 universities have reached out to us to start their own chapters. Swipes's next step is to meet this need and create an effective, smooth and streamlined process (or tool-kit) making chapter establishment easy. The greatest challenge students face in starting a chapter is getting their school's Dining Services on board. This is when we usually step in the most and provide counter arguments, troubleshooting & community organizing strategies to ensure the students success.
Some background: Swipes was created at UCLA in 2009 to address the hundreds of thousands of dollars that disappeared from our meal plans every semester. Once the program gained notoriety in 2012, we decided to become an incorporated non-profit to help the program spread. Swipes grew from the dedication of a few friends who invested themselves in it voluntarily. In September of 2013, I came on as our first staff person and Executive Director in order to dedicate the time the organization needs to scale and expand. We're now up to 5 student run chapters. We (the "royal we") work out of The Hub LA in Downtown Los Angeles and love being able to connect with our community.
More details/video/info-graphics on our website! Thanks for considering us.
Funded by Los Angeles, CA (March 2014)