On April 13, Dining Services held the spring iteration of its biannual “Give a Meal” community outreach project, asking students in dining halls across campus to donate a flex pass to support the cause. The refectories garnered 15 percent more swipes than last spring.
The raw cost of a flex pass is $2.50, and Dining Services collected 3,334 swipes for a total of $8,335. The total will be divvied up and sent to several local charitable organizations as checks: the Covenant Soup Kitchen, the No Freeze Project and the Mansfield Shelter.
Additionally, funds are allocated for UConn’s Alternative Break transportation funding – a Community Outreach initiative that includes trips for environmental restoration in Appalachia or volunteering at soup kitchens in Boston.
The merits of charity are self-explanatory, and any amount goes some way to help organizations meant to benefit disadvantaged populations. As such, it is unfortunate that “Give a Meal” only happens twice a year. Dennis Pierce, executive director of Dining Services, explained if the initiative happened more than it already does, it would hurt their bottom line; the donations come from their meal plan revenue, and commissioning it more than twice a year would hinder Dining Services.
As no “Give a Meal” program may have come into fruition if there was no Dining Services to implement it, this is understandable.
It is also unfortunate the program doesn’t receive as many swipes in the spring semester as in the fall. This could be attributed to a number of things; hunger and homelessness, however, are yearlong struggles and students should strive to help their fellow community members as often as is feasible.
That’s what makes the “Give a Meal” program so easy: it is of no cost or commitment to the student whatsoever. It’s toward the end of the semester, and many students already have a surplus of flex passes they don’t intend to use; why not devote it to something important instead of letting it dissolve with the passage of the semester?
Here, thanks to the charity of Dining Services, is an easy opportunity for students to help an important cause.