Sharing the Bounty: Dining Hall Swipes as Hunger-Fighting Tool

"Swipes for the Homeless," a nonprofit organization founded at UCLA, has turned dining hall swipes into a means of combating hunger in Los Angeles.

Come the end of an academic term, dorm-housed and dining hall-nourished college students face the “leftover meal points” dilemma. Because meal plans are usually included in housing contracts, every dining hall swipe for the term—whether used or unused—generally comes out of the individual’s pocket. For those with meals that roll over, the accumulated bounty of swipes can lead to an end-of-term food rush: students spending the last few days of the term milking the most out of their remaining points by going on snack shopping sprees, swiping into dining halls for pure indulgence (i.e. just to grab a ice cream cone), or feeding the hungry masses of upperclassmen eyeing the “free” feasts.—all to prevent those unused swipes from going to waste.
But students at UCLA have a more charitable option. A student group turned nonprofit organization called “Swipes for the Homeless” has found a way to transform leftover meal points into a means of combating hunger in Los Angeles. Undergraduates who live off dining hall food can opt to donate their remaining swipes to hungry people in the neighborhood. Each swipe donated is equivalent to a meal, which includes bottled juice or water, a bow l of noodles, small fruit bowls, granola bars, chips, canned soup, and fruit.

“Students don’t just donate the meals to us. While they’re donating, we give them information about different ways that they can get involved both on- and off-campus,” says CEO and founder Bryan Pezeshki. “We’ve had a very positive effect in the community, and not just in terms of passing out the food. We spend time with homeless individuals and share meals with them.”

Since its inception in the fall of 2009, the organization dedicated to “Helping the Homeless One Meal Swipe at a Time” has distributed more than 20,000 pounds of food to the homeless living on the streets, shelters in the city, the UCLA Food Closet, and not-for-profit organizations like StandUp For Kids. The first food drive resulted in roughly 350 meals, but participation has skyrocketed: The latest food drive raised 7,300 meals. “Swipes” has also worked to raise campus awareness on hunger and homelessness issues by helping establish the Bruin Meal Voucher program, which offers fully subsidized dining hall meals for students struggling to make ends meet.


The organization has since turned into an international movement, with chapters at 12 different colleges and four more in the works. The White House’s Campus Champions of Change Challenge has lauded “Swipes’” efforts as it continues to contact universities throughout the nation to alleviate the hunger and homelessness crises.
Photos courtesy of Bryan Pezeshki\n
Creative Commons

National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

RELATED: A comedian shuts down a sexist heckler who, ironically, brought his daughters to the show

The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.


The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

Keep Reading Show less

There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

Keep Reading Show less
via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

Keep Reading Show less
via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

Keep Reading Show less