On Sept. 25, 262 UAB students donated meals for fellow students. (Photo by Cooper Crippen).On Sept. 25, 262 UAB students donated meals for fellow students. (Photo by Cooper Crippen).Tamara Imam - Staff Writer
timam@uab.edu

On Friday, Sept. 25, Donor to Diner gave UAB students an opportunity to turn a swipe of their OneCard into a meal for their food insecure peers.

According to Donor to Diner, food insecurity is “inconsistent access to food due to a limitation in resources and is estimated to affect at least 5 to 25 percent of students at some point in their college careers.” The group said that it is difficult to determine exactly how many students are food insecure because it is unknown how many are impoverished.

Donor to Diner is a student-run organization, which partners with the UAB Administration, Campus Restaurants and Student Advocacy, Rights and Conduct to turn meal vouchers into meals that UAB case managers can provide to students who are food insecure.

Food insecurity for college students is a growing problem as tuition and costs of living continue to rise. Michigan State University found that the number of university food pantries have shot up in recent years, from just four in 2008 to 121 in 2014.

On Sept. 25, UAB students were able to donate meals using a meal swipe or $10 in Dining Dollars, Blazer Bucks or cash. Sodexo employees then asked each person who donated a meal to write their name on a slip of paper to be hung up in the entrance to the Commons on the Green. The event ran from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and by 6 p.m., the Commons was adorned with 262 names of donors.

Donor to Diner’s One Meal Initiative concluded a week long canned food drive run by UAB Campus Restaurants as part of the End It With Orange campaign.

End It With Orange is a national campaign that will run for the entire month of September, aims to end childhood hunger in America through raising awareness by asking people to wear orange, eat at restaurants across the country that have teamed up with the organization No Kid Hungry, donate money and pledge their support.

“Together, we can create a dynamic learning environment in which our UAB community can learn how to meet the current pressing societal challenges facing college students, specifically with food insecurity,” said Emily Feinstein, the of Director of Student Advocacy, Rights and Conduct at UAB in a press release.

Student Advocacy, Rights and Conduct has served 359 food insecure students through its food pantry since its inception in 2013. Donor to Diner, which works closely with the Student Advocacy office, plans to hold more food drives and meal initiatives in the future.

“We do intend to continue food drives or similar events, but I’m not sure what we will do until we assess campus need after this upcoming event,” said Donor to Diner President Sippy Sridhar.