GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Sodexo announced an industry-leading and first-of-its-kind pilot program to expand its partnership with Swipe Out Hunger – a leading national nonprofit group committed to reducing food insecurity on college campuses. The program will be piloted on 13 campuses and would establish a "Meal Swipe Bank" at each participating college or university for students in need. Sodexo will provide two free meals for every full-time meal plan sold – an estimate of more than 25,000 free meals annually.
The program will be developed alongside campus staff already providing support to students who are likely to experience food insecurity. To protect student privacy, the safety net dining plan cards will look the same as standard dining plan cards. The participating universities include:
- Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD
- California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA
- California State University San Bernardino in San Bernardino, CA
- Chapman University in Orange, CA
- Creighton University in Omaha, NE
- Dakota State University in Madison, SD
- Menlo College in Atherton, CA
- Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, ID
- San Francisco State University in San Francisco, CA
- Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, WA
- University of Idaho-Wallace in Moscow, ID
- Warner Pacific College in Portland, OR
- Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA
"Over the past year, we have been at the table with Sodexo working to develop a thoughtful solution to hunger on campus," said Rachel Sumekh, Founder and CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. "This program is the first large-scale program of its kind within the food service industry and we know it will make a significant impact on students' lives and their overall well-being. We've learned to never underestimate the power of a meal swipe."
One in three college students faces food insecurity jeopardizing their ability to focus, stay in school, and feel part of the campus community.* In the U.S., many college and university students are struggling with the costs of college beyond tuition. The increase in the cost to items such as rent, utilities, transportation and food have led a significant increase in food insecurity and housing insecurity among students at two- and four-year institutions. While typical interventions, such as campus meal plans, Pell Grants, student loans and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), have helped address food insecurity, many students continue to go hungry.
According to Swipe Out Hunger's 2019 impact survey of 414 students from private and public universities who had received meal passes during the school year:
- 72% of students eat more regularly after receiving donated swipes
- 73% of students feel less stress and anxiety about where they get their next meal
- 2 out of 3 students are able to make ends meet and stretch money
- More than half of students reported performing better in class and on exams after receiving donated swipes
- 63% of students feel that their college is more supportive of students like them after receiving donated swipes
"Students shouldn't have to worry about where they will get their next meal," said Satya Menard, CEO, Schools and Universities Worldwide, Sodexo. "We are excited to expand our partnership with Swipe Out Hunger and work with our university partners to combat hunger insecurity and provide free meals for students in need." Following the results of the pilot program, the program will be available nationwide in the fall of the 2020-2021 academic year.
Sodexo's work to fight hunger follows the entire student journey from primary to higher education and is part of the organization's commitment to improving quality of life. Several Sodexo University partners currently have a Swipe Out Hunger program in place. Examples of universities that offer Swipe Out Hunger include: University of Denver in Denver, CO; West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV; University of Vermont in Burlington, VT; Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA and University of Pittsburgh in Oakland, PA.
"It's essential that students are part of the conversation and design of anti-hunger programs on campus," said Miriam Demasi, Swipe Out Hunger student leader at West Virginia University. "Not only are students more connected to their peers on campus, but they're also best positioned to advise on how to reach even more students with additional supportive resources, like the Meal Swipe Bank that Sodexo is supporting."
Sodexo's partnership with Swipe Out Hunger is just the latest initiative in the company's longstanding commitment to fighting food insecurity. In 1999, the company launched the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that mobilizes experts, innovators, volunteers and donors to feed children in the U.S. and advocate for policies that ensure no child is hungry again. Sodexo funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation so all money raised helps those in need. In 2018, Sodexo contributed over 159,500 in volunteer hours and since 1996 has leveraged nearly $34.5 million in grant dollars to help end childhood hunger.
*Stats courtesy of the Swipe Out Hunger website
About Sodexo North America
Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 72 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. The company employs 150,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. Sodexo is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion and safety, while upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and ethical business conduct. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $32 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoUSA.com, SodexoInsights.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
About Swipe Out Hunger
Swipe Out Hunger is a national nonprofit committed to ending college student hunger. It partners with colleges and universities to provide financially and logistically efficient anti-hunger programs. The organization's flagship program, "The Swipe Drive," allows students to donate their extra meal plan swipes to their peers who face food insecurity on campus. Recognized for its entrepreneurial nature, Swipe Out Hunger has been named an Obama White House Champion For Change and its founder, Rachel Sumekh, has landed a spot on the Forbes' 30 Under 30 list. From its beginnings as a grassroots movement at UCLA in 2010, Swipe Out Hunger has since served 1.7 million nourishing meals across 33 states and more than 85 campuses. For more information, visit swipehunger.org.
Media Contact: Dasha Ross Smith, [email protected]
SOURCE Sodexo North America