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HU Swipes: Dining Dollars Feed Homeless in the District

By Shaleen Shah, News Staff Writer
Posted 8:40 AM EST, Fri., Sept. 23, 2016

In the spring semester of 2016, DD Humblebee, which would later be known as HU Swipes, was born. The Howard University based organization HU Swipes has conceived an innovative idea–using dining dollars to buy and donate food to the homeless.

At the time of its inception, the organization was only a one-person initiative with a budget of 150 (dining) dollars. Today, it has more than 20 members and is affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Swipe Out Hunger.

“After realizing that dining dollars are often in excess or even wasted by students, I wanted to put them to better use,” said Victoria Nguyen, president of HU Swipes.

Nguyen attended Alternative Spring Break and was placed here in the District of Columbia where she learned more about the drastic consequences money waste has on consumerism, as statistics have recently shown that homelessness is rising in the District at an alarming rate.

According to a federal statement released in May 2016, the number of homeless families has increased by more than 30 percent within the past year. For the first time since the annual census began in 2001, statistics showed that there are now more homeless families than homeless single adults in the district.

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“We volunteer at soup kitchens, such as So Others Might Eat (SOME), to prepare hot meals for the homeless,” said Nguyen. “In these endeavors, we ask for Howard students’ support and participation.”

Members placed donation boxes at the C-stores in the campus cafeterias, so that students may donate food they bought with dining dollars. According to Nguyen and Chopade, they collected five boxes of food and donated it to the homeless at SOME.

In an attempt to relieve the problem to some degree, Nguyen donated $150 worth of food to the unprivileged at RH Terrell Recreation Center and the homeless at So Others Might Eat (SOME). According to Apurva Chopade, vice president at HU Swipes, this project led them to expand the initiative and start an organization in the process.

“It all started with a single student’s idea, and 150 dining dollars,” said Chopade. “After seeing the success of the first project, in which Victoria donated $150 worth of food to the unprivileged at RH Terrell Recreation Center and the homeless at SOME, we decided to expand the project, and form an organization as well.”

After the immensely successful project, members at HU Swipes took on another mission in which they made 30 sandwiches for hungry freshmen during move in week. Today, HU Swipes continues to create new ideas and expand their vision.

“Currently, along with attempting to create a systematic process to donate dining dollars in partnership with Sodexo, HU Swipes also hopes to incorporate more vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes in the cafeterias,” said Nguyen.

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The humanitarian organization Howard University Swipes has conceived an innovative idea: Using dining dollars to buy and donate food to the homeless and will not stop every excess dining dollar is spent for the betterment of the people.

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