Be The Change Donate A Meal Campaign

Kelly Langevin, Social Media Editor

Giving back during the month of February is possible with Central Connecticut’s initiative to combat food insecurity by donating meal plan guest swipes to a student in need.

Food insecurity is more common among college campuses than expected. According to a study conducted by Hopes Labs at University of Wisconsin, 36 percent of college students were found food insecure in the last 30 days preceding the survey.

Food insecurity, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, is a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. CCSU is aware of this issue that many students face and wants to take steps toward targeting it on campus.

“February is going to be the month of giving, so students who have those guest meals and just being able to donate one of those I think will be very successful,” Sodexo’s general manager Jonathan Small said. 

The program, called “Be The Change Donate a Meal,” is also in conjunction with Central’s Circle of Care, which provides support for students dealing with food insecurity, housing insecurity, homelessness or lack of basic needs.

The campaign will last for the first two weeks of this month and is geared towards residential students with a meal plan. However, faculty can donate a meal swipe as well. The type of meal plan each person has will determine the number of guest swipes a student receives.

Sodexo notes that the steps to participate are easy: “simply inform the cashier at either Hilltop Café or Memorial Hall that you would like to make a guest meal swipe donation. Meals donated are loaded onto a dining plan card and provided to the Vice President of Student Affairs for distribution to students.”

Sodexo has already partnered with Central’s food pantry, Maria’s Place, back in October in a program called “Dine and Donate.”

In this initiative, all students, faculty and staff were allowed to purchase a meal plan during that month, based on the type of meal plan, to equal a certain amount of swipes. Those swipes would go toward Maria’s Place for those who utilized it.

“[Sodexo] donated a meal voucher to Maria’s Place for every meal plan purchased during the month of October. Those coupons are in circulation now and are available for students to use this spring,” Mitzie Martin, Sodexo’s field marketing specialist, stated.

“For this particular campaign, however, all meal swipes will go directly towards the Circle of Care,” Martin concluded.

Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Jasek stated in an interview this past December that the Circle Of Care program is not at the level they want it to be at quite yet, in terms of students knowing about the service. Therefore, they really wanted to make it well known during this semester.

For more information about “Be The Change, Donate a Meal,” visit CCSU’s Dining services website or the Circle of Care website.