CSU student creates program that puts leftover meal swipes to use

Amanda Thompson

Waste not, want not.

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Lindsey Paricio is a first-year chemistry student at Colorado State University who does not utilize all of her weekly meal swipes, which sparked her interest to create the Swipe Out Hunger program.

Paricio launched Swipe Out Hunger last fall. According to Paricio, Swipe Out Hunger is a program that collects non-perishable goods from Durrell Express and Rams Horn Express, and are donated at the end of each week to the Food Bank of Larimer County.

“Basically there are bins right outside of Durrell Express and Rams Horn, and students who have extra meal swipes they don’t want to use for themselves, can go and purchase any non-perishable goods and put them in the bins,” Paricio said. “I go around and collect the food in the bins multiple times a week with a couple of other students, and at the end of the week we count all the food up and take it to the Food Bank of Larimer County. They then take the food, weigh it and distribute it through there.”

Paricio said the inspiration behind Swipe Out Hunger was found through her previous work with food drives, and her realization of all her leftover meal swipes.

“I never used all my meal swipes, so my friends and I would collect them for camping trips, but we realized that we had way too much food that we would ever use,” Paricio said. “This program is really to help students become more aware that they have the availability of a lot of excess food, and that they can do something with it. I think a lot of people think college students don’t pay attention to the needs of the community around them, so I think that this food drive can really help the community see that students really do care, and they want to do something about it even if they don’t have a lot of resources themselves.”

Liz Poore, the director of residential dining, said that Paricio received her approval to launch Swipe Out Hunger and she believes the program is both beneficial to CSU students and the city of Fort Collins.

“There were days last fall where managers in the dining hall were calling me and letting me know that the boxes were overflowing,” Poore said. “It’s obviously a good program. It also gives students an opportunity to give back to the community and I think for them, it’s an important component of living on campus.”

Stephanie Mills, a first-year biomedical sciences student at CSU, volunteers for Swipe Out Hunger and assists Paricio in collecting the boxes.

“The program just started up again this past week and already, we have collected 200 pounds of food so far,” Mills said. “Running around and collecting all the bins, for me, it’s not so much ‘volunteering’ as much as it is giving back to the community. I’m really excited to see how much more we can get this semester and whether we can carry it through the years.”

Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at news@collegian.com or @amanduhh3003.

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