The initiative, made possible through nonprofit Swipe Out Hunger, launches during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
By Ruth Steinhardt
A new partnership with Swipe Out Hunger, a national nonprofit addressing food insecurity on college campuses, will make it easy for students, faculty and staff at the George Washington University to support peers experiencing food insecurity using their GWorld card.
The partnership, established through GWorld and GW Dining, allows cardholders to use CBORD’s GET Student App to donate existing GWorld balances to The Store, GW’s student food pantry, and the Abrahms Family Fund, which provides emergency Colonial Cash to students experiencing food insecurity. All donations will be split 50-50 between these two initiatives.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem of food insecurity for many students and has impacted many members of our community,” GWorld Card Office Director Emily Dieker said. “We’re thankful for the generosity of donors coming together to combat food insecurity in this difficult time. Donations can be made in any dollar amount, and even little donations will add up and make a big difference for our students in need.”
“I think Swipe Out Hunger provides cardholders a way to continue to give back to the GW community in a time where they may not be able to be involved in the same way they could have before the pandemic—typically, The Store relies heavily on volunteers, and virtual learning has changed that,” said Kathryn Howell, a second-year graduate student in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration who serves as president of the Store. “Small donations by cardholders can mean so much to students who are relying on The Store as a resource during these unprecedented times.”
Ms. Dieker said said launching the partnership during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an opportunity to refocus on the pressing issue of food access.
While exact numbers vary, research suggests that a significant proportion of American college students suffer from some form of food insecurity: lack of access to nutritious food, a feeling that other priorities should come before feeding oneself or uncertainty about whether sufficient resources to eat will exist from one day to the next. And just as it has with other forms of structural inequality, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and worsened the problem of food insecurity.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a move to remote learning, many GW students and employees have balances remaining on their GWorld cards that they may not immediately need. Through Swipe Out Hunger and the GET app, those funds can be donated from anywhere in the world to benefit GW students in need.
Students with Dining Cash balances remaining from spring semester 2020 may also apply for a pro-rated refund of their GWorld funds. The deadline for dining refunds is Dec. 23, 2020. GWorld Dining Cash and Colonial Cash both roll over and can be used across the U.S. with GW’s Grubhub partnership.
“It's important for cardholders to be able to donate this way because it reinforces that sense of community that The Store stands on,” said Chinwendu Ngwadom, a second-year graduate student in the Milken Institute School of Public Health who serves as project coordinator for the Store, “Especially in these times, we've seen how important The Store has been as a resource to students and the GW community. Donating to The Store is a small act that goes a long way.”
“Even though we’re not all physically on campus, we’re still a community,” Ms. Dieker said. “In a time when we’re all dealing with so much individually, it’s heartening to see how much members of the GW community support one another.”
Donating GWorld funds through Swipe Out Hunger is completely voluntary and donations are not considered tax deductible. Please contact the GWorld Office with any questions or for assistance with the GET app.