New ‘Cavs Swipe Out Program’ collects unused meal swipes for food-insecure students

By Aislinn Walsh
January 25, 2020

Starting in the Spring 2020 semester, faculty, staff and students will now be able to donate money or unused meal swipes to help students experiencing food insecurity.

The pilot “Cavs Swipe Out Hunger” program, which launched the week of Jan. 21, sought to test how the program would work in the future.

During this trial period, students had the opportunity to donate meals outside Cav’s Corner or in Founder’s Hall Lobby using their student ID number.

In lieu of a meal swipe, a $7 cash donation, equivalent to a meal swipe, was also accepted.

At the culmination of the trial period, the donations would be compiled and then equally distributed to about 60 previously selected students experiencing “high-risk” food insecurity.

Tracy Eells, general manager of dining services, noted that students can apply to the program. However, “Only commuter students are eligible to receive donations, “Eells said. “The students need to complete the application for the Cabrini Cupboard program to be eligible for the Swipe Out Hunger program.”

Spearheading this project is senior political science major, Daisy Rodriguez. After moving to the United States from Puerto Rico as a child, Rodriguez experienced food insecurity for several years.  The experience, however, has shaped her into a passionate food insecurity advocate.

Rodriguez, right, representing the Food Recovery Network at an open house. Photo from Cabrini Food Recovery Network Instagram.

While at Cabrini, Rodriguez became a Pierce Fellow and served as the president for the Cabrini Food Recovery Network, a club that recovers leftover cafeteria food and donates it to local food pantries.

She had first heard about the “Swipe Out Hunger” concept when attending a food insecurity conference during Summer 2018.  “There was this kid who was talking about this program…” Rodriguez said. “And how it’s been beneficial at his school. We talked a little after his presentation and [I] was like ‘oh this would work amazingly at Cabrini and it would be so beneficial for us’.”

After receiving encouragement from professors, Rodriquez began efforts to launch the program during the Fall 2018 semester. She spent hours in meetings with various departments and Eells to implement this program.

The process proved to be tricky at times since they had to reformulate the program to adapt to Cabrini’s size and meal plan structure.

Daisy Rodriguez (right) attending the Food Recovery Network National Conference. Photo from Food Recovery Network Instagram.

Initially, Rodriguez thought she wasn’t even going to see the program come to fruition while at Cabrini.  “I was already looking for somebody to take over it, so when I graduate there would be somebody who could continue working towards it…I was already imagining ‘it’s not going to happen in a year and a half’.”

Although Rodriguez is happy that the program has launched, she expresses gratitude for the tremendous support she received to make it possible.  “Honestly, it’s all goes out to Ray Ward and Carmel-Jo Madonna. They really helped me out and they kept things moving.”

For those looking to donate via cash or credit to the fund, a website is launching soon. In the interim, please contact Alumni Office at 610.902.8256 or

For students interested in participating in the program, please contact Carmel-Jo Madonna in Grace Hall, Room 150

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Aislinn Walsh

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