Hunger and food insecurity remain prevalent in today’s society, and college students are not immune to that trend. In addition to the already-established Kangaroo Pantry, UMKC has collaborated with Sodexo Campus Services to offer a meal donation program called, “Swipe Out Hunger,” for the fall 2018 semester.
The pilot program, “Fuel for Finals,” originated in the spring 2018 semester when UMKC Dining Services Board of Governors and student leaders partnered with UMKC Dining Services by Sodexo to create a meal donation event designed to benefit students through the Kangaroo Pantry. The two-day event allowed students on a Block or Commuter Meal Plan to donate up to 10 meals that could then be redistributed through the pantry as students prepared for final exams.
Brendon Henderson, a sophomore at UMKC, serves on the UMKC Dining Services Board of Governors and is responsible for bringing the idea to campus. Henderson says he was told in high school that life was about finding the “gaps,” and helping to start this program was one way of giving back.
“When I first arrived at UMKC, I questioned where those unused meals went and why students weren’t allowed to donate their extra meal swipes to the food pantry,” Henderson said. “Since then, the UMKC administration has gone out of its way to fix this issue.”
The Kangaroo Pantry opened in 2015 and strives to provide food assistance to underserved students. The program relies on donations and volunteers within the UMKC community. Swipe Out Hunger will help support fellow students on a peer level, when sustenance and nutrition may play a part in supporting their success.
As of Sept. 24, students with the Block or Commuter Meal Plan may donate up to 10 meals a semester at any time during the Dining Hall’s regular hours.
“This is a great step towards eliminating food insecurity on campus, and I’m excited to see how the Swipe Out Hunger program evolves over time,” Henderson said.
Trevor Calvert, a freshman, heard about Swipe Out Hunger through his R.A. and believes the program will be a success. He has a weekly meal plan and rarely uses all of his swipes.
“I mainly just get dinner and eat elsewhere during the day,” Calvert said. “Since a lot of my swipes go to waste, and I know that there are people who attend UMKC that may not have that ease of access to meals, it’s only fair to donate meals that I’m not using to those who may depend on a program like this.”
Dean of Students Sandra Miles is thrilled with the establishment of the program.
“I am incredibly proud to work with a team that saw a need and developed a proactive and collaborative solution that will also teach our students a lesson in the kind of citizenship that will make them global contributors for years to come,” Miles said.
For more information on how to donate and help, visit the Kangaroo Pantry webpage.