Extra meal swipes at UNC Asheville used to give back to the community


Jon Grunau

Spare meal swipes are used to purchase food for the homeless at Dunder.

Jon Grunau, [email protected], News Writer

Meal swipes at UNC Asheville are often left over by the end of the week and disappear to never be used again, according to Elliot Jackson, a member of the Food For the Unhoused club.

“It’s not food waste as much as it is general resource waste. They’re disappearing instead of being used,” Jackson said.

Many students on campus are part of one of several meal plans, and with them come a system of meal swipes they can use at multiple locations on the school grounds.

“While the organization has kind of changed hands multiple times the last two years, we’re getting back on track now. We want these resources to be used for a cause instead of wasted,”  said Ira Morningstar, a member of the Food For the Unhoused club.

These meal swipes can still find a use as excess swipes can be donated at the end of the week to the Food For the Unhoused club on campus. It is a weekly event, with one or more members of the club present to accept donations.

“We do this every Sunday out of our own time and Ira and I usually stay with the group we work with downtown for a few hours to help out when we can,” Jackson said.

Things are not always easy though, according to Ira. It can be difficult to assist the homeless to the level the club may want to.

“Sometimes we’re not able to help out to the scale I’d like to since you can’t force people to show up. It’s a sad reality of it but the sheer number of people that have extra meal swipes every Sunday is a large number,”  Jackson said.

Food For the Unhoused is a 100% nonprofit club, with all proceeds going to those in need. 

“Just being able to go downtown and give these people food, seeing them light up as we talk to them and learn about their stories, it’s very important,” Jackson said.

While the group was formed several years ago, in recent years it has seen a bit of a decline in active membership. Only recently has the group seen an increase in active members, as well as community involvement.

“As far as leadership it’s pretty much just me, Jackson and Ira. We’re here every Sunday afternoon in Dunder,” said Kenneth Dukes, another member of the club.

Students with leftover meal swipes on their weekly plans can come by the Down Under every Sunday afternoon to donate leftover food to the homeless, which is brought downtown afterwards. 

“It’s a huge part of the week for these people; one meal might not seem like much, but for some of these people it’s everything for them,” Dukes said.

Food For the Unhoused is ready to take meal swipe donations every Sunday at 2 p.m..