Students looking to help those in need can now do so through the comfort of their phones.
Undergraduate Student Government is revamping its Block Out Hunger food donation initiative, allowing students to donate campus food items through the food delivery and pick-up app, Tapingo. In collaboration with Buckeye Food Alliance, Block Out Hunger allows students who are food insecure to receive donations.
Colin Pender, USG student affairs committee representative, said Buckeye Food Alliance is a student organization that works with USG and independently to identify and aid food-insecure students.
“A lot of students tend to focus on academics and how they’re doing in their classes and they tend to forget about food insecurities and that there are students who are food insecure,” Pender, a second-year in political science and psychology, said.
Block Out Hunger is a year-round initiative that USG updates every November in coordination with Battle Against Hunger, a monthlong food insecurity awareness drive.
“This year we just switched over what items we will offer,” Maggie Ash, director of USG student affairs and third-year in English, said. “We only ask for donations for the food that [Buckeye Food Alliance] is most in need of.”
This year, students can use the $5 value of one swipe from their meal plan for C-Store locations to donate fruit and rice. Through Tapingo, students can donate items under “The C-Store — PAD” option, clicking “Virtual Donation” and indicating what food they would like to donate. Students can also physically donate their swipe value at any of the three on-campus C-Store locations.
Though Block Out Hunger has been on campus for about five years, Ash said USG is prioritizing its marketing around the holiday season. She said Thanksgiving and winter break are important times to advertise the initiative.
“We try to push the word even more because that’s when students typically have swipes left over,” Ash said. “It’s really just our goal to help serve Buckeye Food Alliance so they can serve the community.”
USG plans to push new initiatives that will assist food-insecure students, and meeting with Zia Ahmed, director of student dining, has made USG representatives such as Ash and Pender more passionate about expanding food insecurity programs.
And for now, those goals can start with students making a difference through the ease of their phones.
“You miss a lot of swipes during your years at Ohio State,” Pender said. “And so if you can donate those missed swipes that you don’t use and that you never see again to somebody who needs them, you’re making a difference regardless or not if you see it and people will be grateful for that.”