Acts Of Giving Don’t Need To Stop With Donating Swipes


The campaign lasted all February in order to combat food insecurity on college campuses

Samantha Bender, Assistant News Editor

During the first two weeks of February, for the first time in university history, the dining halls on campus promoted the campaign “Be The Change Donate a Meal.” Even though the response was not as big as expected, the program meant a lot for the ones that took advantage of it.

The unique aspect of last month’s meal donation campaign is that it was the first time students had the opportunity to donate something that they have limited access to: guest meal swipes.

Sodexo’s General Manager Jonathan Small said that, in the past, he had students ask if they could donate their meal swipes. The problem with that is that the campus has unlimited access to food, which does not make it a true number. In donating guest meal swipes, though, students have a specific number of them so when they run out, they cannot get any extra. 

Small was approached by Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Jasek, who also oversees Central’s Circle Of Care and helps to provide support to students with food and house insecurities, about the idea.

Jasek explained to Small that the campaign was going to help fight food insecurity on college campuses, which brought him totally on board.

“A student is actually giving up something to give something, and I was 100 percent behind that,” Small said. “I thought it was really cool and I didn’t have to go to anybody for approval. I said ‘sure, let’s do this,’ so I got our marketing person involved, came up with a campaign and rolled it out.”

He worked with Sodexo’s unit marketing specialist, Mitzie Martin, to create brochures and posters to promote the campaign. Information was also posted on the CCSU dining’s Instagram and Facebook page, with the dining hall calendar stating: “During the first two weeks of February, donate a guest meal swipe to a student in need!! More details at”

Despite the great intentions and the big efforts to advertise it, Small admitted that he anticipated a stronger response. He believes a large part of the low turnout was due to the fact that it was the campaign’s first year.

The ones that used it, though, were very grateful. Junior Marketing major Meghan Tooth was among several students who took advantage of the opportunity to help the community.

“It felt good being able to donate my swipes, because I knew it was going to a good cause,” Tooth said. 

This is actually not the first time Central has donated to the community and specifically Maria’s Place, a local food pantry created in honor of Maria A. Alvarez who worked for CCSU for more than 32 years.

“We did a donation last semester for Maria’s Place. For that one, we were selling voluntary meal plans to commuters, faculty and staff and for every meal plan purchased, we donated a meal,” Small said. “We donated, I think, 79 that semester and Maria’s Place was able to pass out coupons to fight food insecurities.”

Even though the “Be The Change Donate a Meal” campaign has ended, individuals are still encouraged to donate to Maria’s Place, as the food pantry is always accepting donations.

“They need it. There’s new leadership over there and they’re lacking some supplies,” Small said. “They’re now taking baby supplies and dog food ,which you never think about, because everyone’s running around hoarding [things] because of the coronavirus.”

Additional information about Maria’s Place and how to donate can be found at