Out of a college student’s simple idea of donating a few boxes of food to the homeless, Rachel Sumekh built a national movement to end hunger on college campuses.
Her company, Swipe Out Hunger, started when a friend posted on Facebook asking if people wanted do something useful with the extra points on their dining hall meal plans. Sumekh, then a freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles, immediately responded, helping gathering food from other undergrads for the homeless. But when she and her friends learned that a campus food closet was available for hungry fellow students, stocked with excess food from college events, they realized they needed to focus closer to home.
Sumekh was shocked to find that so many students were going hungry on campus. Nationwide, 1 in 5 college students regularly skip meals because they can’t afford them. The number of low-income students attending college has been steadily rising since 1975 and as of 2015, more low-income students were enrolled than middle-income students. This factor combined with the sharp rise in tuition and housing costs means that food insecurity is growing among college students.