Students will be able to donate unused Flex dollars to help stock the Hoya Hub food pantry this summer through a program co-hosted by Students of Georgetown, Inc., commonly known as The Corp.

Individuals can participate in the Swipe It Forward Flex Donation Drive from April 28 to May 11 at two Corp locations, Vital Vittles and Hoya Snaxa. The drive will allow students to apply their Flex dollars toward purchasing bundles of $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 associated with a variety of nonperishable food items.

The Corp will purchase nonperishable food items with the proceeds and donate them to the Hoya Hub, an initiative of the Georgetown University Student Association that launched in October 2018 as an on-campus pantry offering free, nonperishable items to the Georgetown community.

FILE PHOTO: MARGARET FOUBERG/THE HOYA | Anyone inside or outside of the Georgetown community can contribute to the Hoya Hub food pantry by donating on the university’s website. The food pantry will also stay open for the summer months.

The initiative will enable the Hoya Hub to increase opportunities for individuals on campus to get involved in the program, according to Hoya Hub Co-Chair Julianne Licamele (COL ’21).

“Currently, the Hoya Hub is run by students and was established because of student advocacy,” Licamele wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We thought that this drive would be a great way for us to engage our community and make people feel like they are contributing to a resource that helps their peers.”

The idea for applying Flex dollars in the initiative arose when a student asked the leadership of The Corp and the Hoya Hub whether they could use their additional Flex dollars that they had received as a result of their housing relocation to help the initiative, according to Leila Meymand (COL ’20), director of Hoya Snaxa. Students can also donate to the food drive through other payment methods, including debit dollars.

Earlier this semester, 84 students received $200 Flex dollars each after being relocated from their top-floor apartments in Alumni Square to the Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center because of potential structural issues in the apartment roofs. Students were also upgraded to the All Access 7 meal plan by the university, with the option to to convert the plan entirely into Flex dollars for an approximate worth of $2,950.

The Hoya Hub will likely benefit from the donations of students who have wanted to give back to the community but have been constrained by their finances, according to Meymand.

“I imagine that many students would want to donate to Hoya Hub to support its mission of mitigating the effects of food insecurity, but may be deterred because they do not have the financial means to support the organization,” Meymand wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This new system, though, provides an easy way for those students to give back to members of the Georgetown community.”

In addition to participating in the Swipe It Forward Flex Donation Drive, anyone inside or outside of the Georgetown community can contribute to the Hoya Hub by donating on the university’s website.

The Hoya Hub hopes the drive will bring attention to the fact that the pantry will stay open over the summer and remain functional during all breaks going forward, according to Licamele.

“The drive also cuts down on waste, which the Hoya Hub has been trying to figure out ways to do,” Licamele wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Each semester, flex dollars that could be used on food, expire and do not roll over to the following semester.”

Although this is only the first year of collaboration between the Hoya Hub and The Corp, this initiative serves as the beginning of future service-related partnerships between the two organizations, according to Lille Brown (SFS ’20), philanthropy chair of The Corp.

“We anticipate a great turnout from the entire Georgetown community,” Brown wrote in an email to The Hoya. “As we engage with our Corp motto of students serving students, we are so looking forward to seeing the Swipe It Forward Food Drive come to fruition, and we look forward to growing our partnership with Hoya Hub in the future.”

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