USC Swipes for the Homeless will launch its inaugural dining dollar drive Monday at three locations on campus to help raise money for the Los Angeles Mission, a non-profit organization devoted to Angelenos in need.
Students can stop by tables outside of Trojan Grounds, Café 84 and the Pertusati University Bookstore any time this week and donate their unused dining dollars. Donors must show their student ID and can give either a set amount or their remaining balances. All dining dollars and swipes will be converted by USC Hospitality into a food donation to the Los Angeles Mission.
USC Swipes for the Homeless was started after seeing how successful Swipes for the Homeless has been at other schools, including UCLA, which recently received a Campus Champions of Change Challenge award from President Barack Obama for their program.
“We’ve been trying to get started for a while but just never pushed through so it’s very exciting to see things actually get off the ground,” said Delila Pouldar, a co-founder of USC Swipes for the Homeless. “Swipes for the Homeless needed to come here.”
Tiffany Pouldar, a co-founder of USC Swipes for the Homeless, said the program is important because it benefits the community surrounding USC.
“We are surrounded by an extremely underserved community and although USC has a lot of programs dedicated to serving those around us, this can be one of the most effective because it addresses the most necessary need: the need to eat,” Pouldar said.
The program provides a convenient way for students to give back to the community during the final weeks of school, said Jamal Saleh, a co-founder of USC Swipes for the Homeless.
“It’s always been a priority, but this is really the perfect way for USC to reach out to its neighbors,” Saleh said. “It’s a very tangible and realistic way to contribute and it’s practical for students.”
USC Swipes for the Homeless is not the first organization to convert excess dining dollars to something practical. In the past, Dining Dollar Dumps were placed outside of Trojan Grounds and students were able to use excess dining dollars to purchase food items to place in the bins.
“Hopefully Swipes for the Homeless is more effective,” Saleh said. “The bins outside of [Trojan Grounds] would often get filled with trash and no one really knew where their donations were going.”
In addition to donating to the Los Angeles Mission, USC Swipes for the Homeless also wants to educate the students about homelessness in Los Angeles.
“It is such a problem in the urban city that is L.A.,” Delila Pouldar said. “For the homeless, something as basic as food is not a given.”
Phillip Royster, a sophomore majoring in architecture, said he will take part in USC Swipes for the Homeless because of its convenience.
“It’s perfect for people who can’t donate a lot of time but still want to give back,” Royster said. “I think it’s really awesome; and I’m definitely inclined to get involved.”
Michelle Hsu, a freshman majoring in business administration, said students often spend their excess dining dollars on items they do not necessarily need, but USC Swipes for the Homeless offers students another alternative.
“People just buy like a ton of water bottles to put in their car,” Hsu said. “This way, nothing goes to waste and students can reach out to people in the community who are actually in need.”