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